By Felix U. Basadre Jr. | Correspondent
THE senior citizens in Cebu City cannot trade places with the young, but in this city they become assets to team-playing,” said Domingo O. Chaves Jr., the head of the city’s Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (Osca) in a talk with the BusinessMirror.
Right now, the Osca head said, “we are not doing different things, but we are doing things differently.”
Most older people are so focused on complaining about the things they don’t have that they lose sight of the things they have, Chaves said.
Under his tutelage, senior citizens are now working together as a team, whether they have or do not have a formal education. This is so because, Chaves said, most of the senior citizens in Cebu City have the 3 Cs: Commitment, Conviction, and Courage.
As of today, there are 105,000 ID card-bearing senior citizens in the city, with 67,300 qualified to avail themselves of the city’s annual P12,000 financial assistance. The Cebu City government sets aside P807.6 million as financial assistance to the elderly.
During the city’s past two administrations, Chaves said, senior citizens “have been working for a good leader”—referring to the city mayor—and a belief.
“My objective is to share the fact that when senior citizens believe that working as part of a team makes their outlook toward team-playing become realistic, they are able to help others have better lives and behavior.”
Chaves whose term will expire in November this year said he is going to leave many good things behind for the city’s senior citizens. He said his efforts have paid off: Harmony reigns in the workplace and senior citizens now believe they can be technologically savvy.
Currently Osca is streamlining the operation of senior citizens associations in the different barangays of Cebu City through computerization, resulting in efficiency gains and professional presentation and awareness on the additional benefits of Republic Act 9994—the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, Chaves said.
The city’s elderly, he said, are also being assisted in their material needs through social pension funds and financial assistance accorded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the city government.
Cursorily, Chaves said, he did institute immediate changes when he started his work as Osca head by getting rid of corrupt employees, including gossip mongers and those employees who have humiliated senior citizens doing at the city hall.