By Zaldy De Layola, November 14, 2023; Philippine News Agency

MANILA – United Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Milagros Aquino-Magsaysay on Tuesday pushed for a swift passage of her House bill seeking to amend Republic Act (RA) No. 11350 otherwise known as the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) Act.

Magsaysay said he filed House Bill 9454 or “An Act amending RA 11350” on Nov. 7 to improve and make the five-year-old law beneficial to nearly 10 million senior citizens in the country.

“We have waited years for the passage of a commission that will specifically attend to the concerns and issues of our senior citizens and it will be a waste if the commission will exist in the name only and will not be felt by our country’s elderly sector,” she said.

“This is why we need to make amendments to the law to make sure that the NCSC understands its mandate and abides by it. We don’t want a lame duck commission. We want a working one,” she added.

Under HB 9454, Magsaysay seeks to make the present law maximize its functionality for the benefit of senior citizens, to provide clearer guidance and direction on the law’s original intentions.

“We want to make sure that the elderly sector does not suffer the consequences and inefficiency of a non-functioning body,” she said.

She said the NCSC has not displayed any capability to assume the responsibilities and functions “pertaining to the senior citizens’ sector.”

The proposed bill seeks to place the NCSC under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Under the present law, the commission is under the Office of the President.

The NCSC, under new measure, will be tasked to develop an integrated and comprehensive long-term National Plan for the social protection of senior citizens at all levels, including establishing and maintaining a National Database on the Profiling and Referral system of senior citizens.

Under Section 8 of the proposed bill, the approval of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), the Commission shall have an organizational structure, staffing pattern, offices, divisions, or units based on the responsibilities and functions it shall also absorb and take over from the DSWD and such other elderly-related concerns and emerging trends. However, it may create other offices, divisions or units as it may deem necessary to fully operationalize and maintain its functionality.

The proposed amendment would allow the Commission to accept donations which is not found under the present law.