Five more centenarians in Region 12 (Soccksargen) have received recognition and cash incentives from the national government, through the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

Photo: 100 YEARS. Department of Social Welfare and Development 12 (Soccsksargen) director Cezario Joel Espejo (right) hands over PHP100,000 in cash to centenarian Teofila Cuello Diazon of Polomolok, South Cotabato who turned 100 years old on Feb. 28, 2021. Some five centenarians in the region received cash incentives and letters of felicitations from President Rodrigo Duterte this year, bringing the total recipients to 565 since 2016. (Photo courtesy of DSWD-12)

Cezario Joel Espejo, DSWD-12 director, said on March 3, 2021, they released the incentives in the past three days in simple awarding rites conducted in coordination with concerned local government units.

Espejo said the latest awardees are all from South Cotabato province – two from Polomolok and Banga towns, and one from Surallah.

Aside from the PHP100,000 cash incentive, the centenarians received letters of felicitations that recognized their achievements from President Rodrigo Duterte, he said.

“These elders have given significant contributions to our society and this is the government’s way of appreciating and acknowledging their efforts,” Espejo said in a statement.

Since 2016, he said, 565 centenarians in the region have received government recognition and incentives, which reached PHP56.5 million.

The region covers the provinces of South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, North Cotabato and the cities of General Santos, Koronadal, Tacurong, and Kidapawan.

Some 314 centenarians received the incentive and felicitations in 2016; 69 in 2017; 73 in 2018; 50 in 2019; and 54 last year, as provided for in Republic Act 10868 or the “Centenarians Act of 2016.”

Under the law, all Filipinos who have reached the age of 100, whether residing in the country or abroad, are entitled to receive a cash incentive of PHP100,000 from the national government as a “centenarian gift.”

Qualified centenarians are also entitled to awards and incentives from their respective local government units (LGU).

Bonifacio Selma, DSWD-12 assistant director, said the initiative is a way of “showing respect” to the centenarians and repaying their contribution to our society.

Selma urged residents who have family members or relatives who have reached the age of 100 to coordinate with their LGUs and the agency.

Immediate families need to present proof of identification or age of the prospective recipient, such as a birth certificate, passport, Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs identification card, marriage certificate, or any document or ID that shows their birthday, he said.

In the absence of any of these documents, the birth certificate of the centenarian’s children may be presented to establish the age. (Allen Estabillo, PNA)