The successful implementation of the Reporting System and Prevention Program for Elderly Abuse Cases (ReSPPEC) in the two pilot barangays of the municipality of Lambunao, Iloilo led to its replication in two more of the town's villages.
In Western Visayas, the project was piloted in the town's Maribong and Gines villages way back 2016 to 2018.
The main objective of this project was to give attention to our senior citizens and be able to respond to issues affecting them, Ruby Leprozo, the project focal person in Lambunao, said in an interview Tuesday.
During the pilot episode, Leprozo said they found out that senior citizens were subjected to various forms of abuses, such as neglect and at risk or in difficult situation.
Usually those who come out as perpetrators are family members or their caretakers, she said.
In August 2019, the project was replicated in barangays Poblacion Ilaya and Poblacion Ilawod.
Poblacion Ilaya has 271 senior citizens while Poblacion Ilawod has 470 based on data provided by the Municipal Social Welfare Office (MSWDO).
Ten bed ridden elderly from each barangays were chosen as recipients of the medical assistance from the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) amounting to PHP5,000 each.
The profiling of other senior citizens of the barangays is also ongoing.
Meanwhile, the project in Maribong and Gines barangays has been sustained. The barangays have organized and operationalized their protective committees on senior citizens (PCSC).
The PCSC assists the local government unit in the assessment and documentation and also report on the abuses that were committed to the senior citizens. They also engage in continuous advocacy to raise public awareness of what is happening to the sector.
Every sitio was able to organize a core group of the elderly. The barangays also have their own center that was provided with amenities.
Leprozo said they intend to marry ReSPPEC with the Home Care Support for Senior Citizens, a new project of the DSWD.
The plan already got an endorsement from the town's Sangguniang Bayan.
Under the initiative, they intend to come up with a core group composed of abled senior citizens who will provide temporary care to their bed ridden peers in case no member of the latter's family is available to look into their relative.
Corazon Lebata, president of the Senior Citizens Federated Association of Iloilo Inc. (SCFAII) Lambunao chapter, said that through ReSPPEC, abuses against senior citizens have been minimized.
She said children should always respect the elderly and should not be shouted at.
Give them their pension, it should be used for their welfare, she said.
In a separate interview, Lambunao Mayor Reynor Gonzales said the town is appreciative of the DSWD for recognizing their capacity in looking after the welfare of senior citizens.
The local government unit, he said, has already allocated budget for them. They are provided with funds for hospitalization through the assistance to individuals in crisis situation as well as burial assistance.
Centenarians are also given incentive worth PHP50,000 or depending on the capacity of the municipality.
The local chief executive said that once the construction of the municipal building is completed, the portion of the newly inaugurated senior citizen building that is currently being occupied by other local offices will be converted into a rehabilitation therapy center.
The center will offer free physical therapy to indigent members of the sector. Those who have the capacity to pay will be subsidized.
Gonzales added the senior citizen has a great contribution to the municipality. In fact, some senior citizens have been tapped to work as job hires.
That simply shows that in Lambunao, our senior citizens are being taken care of by their families and the local government. We have constructed a senior citizens building for them. They have benefits and assistances, he said.
The newly inaugurated building of the senior citizen was inaugurated on Tuesday. The construction of the PHP1.5 million Jovito and Cristina Senior Citizen Center was donated by Haydee Leagogo Hernandez in memory of her parents.
Lebata said the building will serve as venue for recreation, meetings and socialization in attending to the needs of the senior citizens and other activities.
As of January 2020, the municipality has 10,882 senior citizens, six of whom are centenarians
Source: Philippines News Agency