Senior citizens have concerns, too

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Sunday, August 24, 2014

SENIOR citizens have a variety of concerns when it comes to health. As people grow older, many health problems become more likely to occur, including problems that affect the body and mind. Some of these problems are unavoidable. Becoming a senior citizen does not doom someone to a life of health problems.

In the June 2014 data of Davao City the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs, an estimated number of 85,000 senior citizens have been identified. Out of that number, only 37,613 are active members or registered under OSCA where 15,732 and 21,381 are male and female members, respectively.

Davao City OSCA head Azucena Bajao, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao at her office, said it is important that senior citizens should register first at their office in order to secure an OSCA identification card to avail the privileges thereof.


"In relation to the Republic Act number 9994, much more known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, aims to provide senior citizens' health care benefits and assistance to assist them to attain more meaningful and productive ageing," Bajao said.

Among the health privileges and benefits senior citizen earned by having OSCA Ids are 20 percent discount on purchase of medicines, influenza and pnuemococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, discount on professional fees of attending physicians in all public and private hospitals, medical facilities, home health care services, and on medical and dental services, and diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private and public hospitals, and medical clinics in accordance with the rules and regulations issued by the Department of Health and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

Bajao, on the other hand, emphasized that this benefits are exclusive for senior citizens who belong to the age bracket of 60 years old and above, given that he or she have acquired and followed the necessary requirements for the OSCA ID.

Federation of Senior Citizens Association president Albina Sarona, in a separate statement, said she's very happy to avail such benefits as a senior citizen especially it has been helping her lessen its expenses.

Sarona said, "Gwapo siya na programs na gihimo gyud para sa amoa mga tigulang na pero although mas gwapo pa unta ug mas mudako pa ang mga discounts. Pero sa karon happy ko sa mga benefits (It's a good program especially for us senior citizens but I would prefer that the health benefits would increase. But so far, I'm contented with the benefits I'm getting)."

Meanwhile, others have different takes on the topic on the benefits for senior citizens. Monalisa Sanchez, 63 years old resident of Barangay Buhangin, shared her sentiments in saying that the requirements are just too complicated to handle.

"Libog pud kaayo ning uban mga pharmarcy kay naghatag nako ug OSCA id pero ginapangayoan ghapon ko ug logbook para makaavail sa benefits ug discounts (I'm confused how some pharmacies still don't accept my OSCA id and ask for a logbook before I can avail the said benefits and discounts)," said Sanchez.

Bajao, on the other hand, answered the claim, saying: "There are rules and process to follow before availing the said benefits. They should present an id and a logbook to the hospital or pharmacy in order to record the details of the purchases made."

Sanchez, for her part, said, "Daghan kaayo sa amo didto sa mga senior citizens na babae didto mga nanganak ug nangasakit na wala gihapon ka avail sa mga benefits kay kelangan pa magregister louy kaayo sa ilang part."

Referring to senior citizens, especially women who lived in far-flung areas, Bajao addressed it by saying that there are presidents in different chapters to cater to the needs of those senior citizens who cannot afford to travel to the downtown area.

"Mao lang man gyud among gpangayo ang magparegister sila para sa ilang ID diri sa office, total libre man ug walay bayad (That's the only thing we ask them to avail and register for their ID. Anyway, there is no amount that's needed to be paid.)," Bajao added.

Luviminda Cruz, 66 years old from Tagum city, said she prefers that the medicinal needs should be free for the senior citizens.

"Ako, lisod kaayo sa akong part kay wala nakoy makuhaan ug kwarta ug unta gilibre nalang unta ni tanan sa gobyerno para sa amoa. Wala nami mga trabaho so maglisod mi mangita pangbayad sa mabilin sa discount (It's difficult on my part especially that I have no source of money and income right now. I just hope the government gave these medicines for free)," Cruz said.

Bajao, meanwhile, admitted that these privileges and benefits are not enough, especially to those who came from the poverty line.

"Dili gyud namo mahatag ang tanan labi na kay naa man jud budget ang government tapos daghan sad ug kinahanglan ang mga tao so dili gyud maigo (I admit that we can't give everything for these senior citizens especially that these discounts are being compensated by government budgets and each of us has its own needs)," Bajao said.

Bajao said the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs is currently doing some planning to improve the health benefits and privileges the senior citizens may get.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 25, 2014.


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