DAVAO CITY – Councilors expressed their dismay over the lack of implementation of a local law benefiting elderly citizens.

“In 2010, Davao City blazed the way to support senior citizens. We have approved ordinance 0417-10 which is the Older Persons Welfare Code. However, its implementation is not yet being done,” said city councilor Leo Avila III who is also the proponent of the code.

Avila said that the city has been actively supporting senior citizens and added that “this ordinance should be implemented to ensure that more elderly residents would have access to health services.”

“We value our older kin and constituents. These are the people who have given the most productive years of their life for the benefit and welfare of the people in Davao and its future generations,” Avila said.

Six percent of the city’s 1.5 million population or roughly 90,000 are senior citizens, according to Avila. However, only 39,000 senior citizens are registered at the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in Davao City.

The Older Persons Welfare Code increases the participation of older persons through their representation in the Barangay Development Council and City Development Council.

It also creates the “Older Persons Employability Desk” to assist older persons who wants to be employed and to earn.

The code’s provision includes putting up Geriatric Health and Rehabilitation Care Section in hospitals, barangay health centers and other facilities and Older Persons Assistance Center at terminals and ports.

Meanwhile, Councilor Diosdado Mahipus also expressed his frustration over the delay of the implementation of the said ordinance.

In his privilege speech during Tuesday’s regular session at Sangguniang Panglungsod, Mahipus said “It appears to me that while we are postulating that Davao is not only a child-friendly city, but a senior or elderly citizen-friendly city, this has not been followed to the letter,” Mahipus said.

Mahipus said that this delay might affect the tourism in the city.

“You know, we have been inviting tourists to come, and part of our attraction in the city of Davao is that, we say comparatively speaking, Davao has provided a haven for elderly citizens, for retirees,” he said.

Mahipus urged the members of the city council to “stand up” and remind the agencies concerned to put in place all the infrastructure complements to become an elderly or senior citizen-friendly city. (with reports from Diana Tomale, Davao Today Intern)

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