I was standing in line next to a senior citizen in a drug store. He was counting his coins, as if trying to check if they’d be enough to buy the medicines on the doctor’s prescription he was holding. I tried to help him by asking the other people in the line if we could get him to go first. The people gave in heartily.
When we got to the counter, the cashier asked for the old man’s senior citizen’s ID, but the old man said he left his ID but brought with him his SSS ID. The cashier rejected the offer and said that only senior citizens’ ID are the only ones accepted in their store.
Good thing I was reading the newspaper the other day.
I came to the rescue of the old man and explained to the cashier the provisions of RA 9994 or the Senior Citizens’ Act of 2010, which was authored by former Manila 6th District Congressman Bienvenido “Benny” Abante. According to the provision, a senior citizen does not necessarily have to present his or her senior citizens’ ID to avail of the services and privileges entitled to them. They would only need to present any valid ID that would certify that they are age-qualified as senior citizens (that is, 60 and/or above).
The cashier, who was trying to outsmart me, pointed into their store’s signboard where it says “senior citizens’ cards accepted here,” which, for her, meant that only such ID’s were accepted and not any other if senior citizens were to avail of the benefits. The lady was fast testing me to my limits of tolerance for intolerant people like here.
Thanks to technology, I was able to go online through my mobile, and showed her the special report written by Malaya columnist Ducky Paredes where he was discussing with Congressman Abante the salient features of the Senior Citizen’s Act. Knowing that she was fast running into an inescapable corner of losing to my line of thought, she called her manager to her side to rescue her.
The drug store manager came to check what was wrong, and her employee started doing the talking, thinking that she could still maneuver her way out of the mess and make a fool out of me. But, alas, I was heavily prepared for that fray, and I engaged in a slugfest of factual debate. For each explanation that the manager said, I had the appropriate answer for a rebuttal.
At the end, the informed consumer prevailed.
As I was walking out of that drug store, I felt both happy and sad–happy because I was able to help the old man buy his medicines, but sad because that encounter made me realize how many more establishments and old folks in our country are unfortunately unaware of the provisions of the Senior Citizens’ Act. It was a good thing that I was reading the newspaper, and by chance I was the guy standing next to a man who would have missed the benefits afforded to him by law if he was standing beside someone else who did not know any better.
I thus decided to write this as my own simple way of disseminating this very important law in our country that provides the best kind of benefits and services to our old folks. If you come to think of it, all of us either have old folks to care for, or we’re all waiting for that day when we become one. I kind of felt lucky that day, because of all the days that I would pick up a newspaper, I picked up Malaya, and of all the sections I chose to read, I read the one by Ducky Paredes, and of all the people he had a good talk with, it was the very principal author of the Senior Citizens Act, Dr. Benny Abante, Jr.
And of all the people that I came to stand next in line with, it was an old man that would later come to need everything that I had the good chance of reading and knowing of.
This is just wishful thinking, but I hope that old folk could get to meet Congressman Abante, and thank him personally for the bill. After all, it wasn’t really me who did the real help, but the author of the law that provided help for him.
There are some things that I don’t understand with how some of our government officials are making decisions and policies.
Take the case, for example, the ongoing impeachment trial against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
When the president decided to gear the nation towards this direction, it seemed that the government is trying to make an impression that it stands against any and all forms of corruption in all levels of public service. The trial, whether it be in the senate court room, or in the public venue, takes upon it a cloak of moral fortitude, or in the very least the pursuit of it. It seems every other news item and event that has transpired since the impeachment trial commenced is but a mere footnote to the ongoing proceedings.
But after 24 days, and millions of pesos spent already, has there been really any significant progress?
I highly doubt it.
And while I am no political expert, my being a voter, I believe, entitles me to this opinion–that this whole impeachment trial has done nothing but to waste the precious money of our taxpayers.
To which fellow critics would pose a rebuttal “so what do you suggest?”
If I may… here is my suggestion:
Get the Freedom of Information Bill approved.
I remember myself inside the Batasan Hall during the last day of the previous congress. The FOI Bill was in the verge of getting approved. All it needed was a formality of vote-taking in the plenary. But from out of nowhere this congressman raises a question on the quorum, and in a seeming act of conspiracy, the vote was not taken, and the bill was killed.
I remember the former sixth district Congressman Benny Abante, the strongest proponent of the bill on floor, with all the strength he could muster, issued a strong warning that if this bill were to be denied its due approval, ultimately the nation will suffer more years of enduring the pangs of corruption that will remain unaddressed for as long as the government is not equipped with the right weapon to curb it. Cong. Abante, for sure, knows what he is talking about–as a pastor and leader of pastors for decades, he has stood himself behind his sacred pulpit to declare a divine war against corruption of the human heart. With a chance of doing the same, this time behind the rostrum of the House of Representatives, Cong. Abante, together with his fellow advocates of righteous governance, stood with hope that the bill would find its way in the noble laws of our nation, thereby proving our nation’s commitment against corruption.
Alas, the clamour fell on deaf ears.
A mere technicality rendered the killing strike to the bill which could have been the key to finally solving the issue our nation now faces. The nation is fast growing tired of the proceedings that have literally overshadowed more important issues like the plight of our brothers in the Visayas area who were struck by earthquake; of the rainstorms and flash floods that have crippled places like Quezon and Bicol; of the growing violence among our youth, the most recent of which has been the death of a student due to hazing.
And now the president took to the stage a few days ago to herald his administration’s support for the FOI bill to be approved. At such a time as this? I may be an optimist, but I must definitely stretch my optimism a whole lot further by saying that the approval of this bill ain’t too late yet. I am just hoping that our lawmakers would act as quickly as they rushed to bring the impeachment complaint up to the senate in getting this bill approved.
At the very least, Congressman Abante, together with the host of other lawmakers wanting to establish righteous rule in the nation, would finally be vindicated.