Senior citizens’ rights advocate and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal filed his certificate of candidacy for senator, marking his first attempt to run for public office.
“MacaRomy” at 71 years old, vowed to push for bills for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. He seeks to lobby more benefits and privileges to senior citizens and to uphold their rights especially most senior citizens are not working anymore and need special health care.
In 3 separate cases filed by Romulo Macalintal in 2013 and 2014, he sued several business establishments which denied to give discount for senior citizens on certain technicalities such as lack of senior citizen ID despite having other government issued IDs and denial of discounts on top of paid privilege cards.
Five-star Sofitel Hotel in Pasay City was sued for denying him his 20 percent senior citizen’s discount on top of the Sofitel Accor Advantage card, which he pays P8,800 a year for the card.
Owners and operators of Café Mediterranean in Resorts World and Black Canyon Coffee in Las Pinas sought public apology and a P40,000 donation for charities catering to senior citizens after being sued for denying senior citizen discount on seniors without the Senior Citizen ID.
RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act allows the use of other identification cards like driver’s license, voter’s ID, SSS, GSIS, and other government issued identification documents, if the senior citizen could not present his Senior Citizens card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs Office, to avail of the privileges under the law.
As part of his mission-vision for senior citizens, here are some of the bills he seeks to propose and pass:
✔️To pool together some unused or unclaimed senior citizens’ discount, more specifically on the mandatory 5-percent discount on grocery items, electric and water consumption. He added the amount is enough to build almost every year a home for the aged or modern medical facilities for senior citizens.
“A substantial number of senior citizens are not aware that under RA [Republic Act No.] 9994, they are entitled to 5 percent discount on weekly purchase of grocery items not to exceed P1,300 per week; 5 percent discount of the cost of water or electrical consumption bills not exceeding 100 kilowatt-hours [kWh], and 30 cubic meters provided utility meters are registered in their names. ”
✔️To provide free movie tickets to senior citizens nationwide
“Dapat bigyan ng libreng sine para sa mga senior citizens sa buong bansa kasi kaming mga senior citizens kapag nanood kami, may kasama kami 2 o 3 apo na magbabayad. Kikita ang sine,” he said.
(Senior citizens across the country must be given free movie tickets because we senior citizens, when we go to the cinema, we take 2 or 3 grandchildren who are paying patrons. The theater will make money.)
✔️To expand cash grants for Filipino centenarians.
Filipinos “beyond 100 years old” should also be given P100,000 for each birthday.
“Ilan lang ba ang makakarating diyan (Just how many could reach that age)? Its benefts will trickle down to the sons, daughters, grandchildren of senior citizens,” he said.
✔️To give bigger discounts for senior citizens.
Senior citizens, or those 60 years old and above, already enjoy a 20% discount on food and medicine. Senior citizens who reach 70 years of age should receive a bigger discount – 30%.
Meanwhile, those who reach 80 years of age should get a 40% discount, while those 90 years old and above should have a 50% discount on medicines and medical services.
✔️To push for an amendment to the Centenarian Law, which extends a cash gift of P100,000 to Filipinos who reach 100 years of age
He said the P100,000 should be given in tranches – the first P30,000 when a person reaches 80 years old, the next P30,000 when the person reaches 90, and the remaining P40,000 when the person reaches 100. “And every year beyond 100, give them P100,000,” he said.
✔️To bat for the passage of a mandatory retirement age at 70 both in the government and private sector.
Macalintal said most senior citizens are forced to retire at 60. They are compelled to retire even if they are still capable to work.
Legacy truly is leaving something behind even if you have gone ahead. These bills if passed will benefit the sector needing special attention.