BAGUIO CITY – More legislation is needed to assist the elderly and youth of Baguio in the coming years.
This was pointed out by former Baguio Representative Bernardo Vergara over the weekend, who explained that the Senior Citizens Act should be expanded to increase existing discount benefits from 20 to 30 percent and that taxi transportation should be included in the covered services.
He said that for the youth, for students in particular, there should also be a Junior Citizens Act that would provide for discount privileges on dormitory rental, food and commodity purchases, medical services and hospitalization.
“We should increase by at least 50 percent the monthly pension of senior citizens retired from the active service, both public and private; support bills to increase their Social Security pension to at least P2,000 monthly; and support bills to institutionalize tax reforms for them,” Vergara explained.
Saying that health and social services should remain as a priority concern, he said that from national funds, a substantial share should be put up at barangay health extension centers to provide maintenance for their upkeep, including provisions for a doctor, a dentist, and a nurse in each of these.
“Allotments should also be made to upgrade existing hospital facilities and to put in more high-tech medical equipment at the Baguio General Hospital and Medical Center for greater dialysis, CT scan, and other specialized services,” Vergara continued.
He added that funds should also be sourced to support the hospitalization, including the surgery, of indigent Baguio-based patients, and for the supply of cheap medicines for free distribution to charity patients.
“We should expand further the membership and insurance coverage of our senior citizens, youth and indigents under our Philippine Health Insurance or PhilHealth, giving priority to constituents under the Conditional Cash Transfer Program of the government, and all barangay-based health centers should be included for a proportionate share towards increased medical, first-aid, emergency and nursing services, as well as medicine availability,” Vergara added.
“Taking off from my 2010-13 work, we should continue to fund livelihood support and wholesome recreational projects of senior citizens associations, women’s clubs and youth groups in various barangays,” he pointed out.
Vergara said that moves should also be made to mandate the establishment of Youth and Students Affairs Offices in every city and municipality of the country.
“As a Catholic and a Christ-centered public servant, I cherish religious freedom and inter-faith harmony. I will to foster my long-held advocacy to abide by the constitutional mandate in maintaining the separation between church and state, and of protecting freedom of worship from all forms of intervention, including the continuing exemption of religious institutions from taxation,” he said.