Soon, a National Commission on Senior Citizens




By Rose de la Cruz


A full-time commission that would be the voice of senior citizens would soon be created, once President Duterte approves the bill creating it.


Ako Bicol partylist Rep. Alfredo Garbin Jr., one of the authors of House Bill 8837 or the Senior Citizens Commission Act, said instead of being just a coordinating and monitoring board with no real powers, a national commission on senior citizens will soon be created and have field offices to make sure welfare laws for the elderly are implemented well.


"We're glad Congress was able to transmit last June 26 to Malacanang for President Duterte's signature, the bill creating the seniors commission. No need for the 18th Congress to work on it again because it was sent to the Palace before the term of the 18th Congress started," Garbin said.


"So now, we just wait a while until it gets signed. Implementing rules, up to 180 days including consultations, turnover of the board to the commission, and selection of the top officials,” Garbin added.


Garbin said he hopes the seniors commission would be up and running either by December or by early next year.


"The commissioners will man the field offices of the regional-geographical areas they represent. At the central office under the Office of the President, the commission chairman and executive director will hold fort," the Bicolano congressman said.


"Congress designed the commission this way to make sure there is implementation consistency from the head office to the field offices, which the board before could not do because it had no field offices and relied mainly on inter-agency field reports," Garbin said.


The AKO BICOL solon also said the chair and commissioners will have terms of six years, but the first set of commissioners will have staggered terms with the first pair having six years, the next two get four years, and the remaining two get two years.