Younger Lagman takes up cudgels for centenarian bill

Posted at 05/30/2013 4:51 PM

MANILA – Third-termer Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman on Thursday said his crusade for the passage of the Centenarian Act, a measure that aims to honor the country's centenarians, is not yet over.

Lagman, who served his third and last term during the 15th Congress, said he will have his son, Edcel Jr., refile the bill when the latter takes over his post in the next Congress.

The 15th Congress version of the bill, authored by Lagman and whose Senate version was authored by Senator Francis Pangilinan, was recently vetoed by President Benigno Aquino III due to certain "oppressive" provisions.

Aquino said the provision which gives centenarians 75 percent discount on goods and services is too much since the bill did not provide tax cuts for businesses.

Lagman blamed Pangilinan for the decision of the President to veto the bill. He said the bill would have been passed into law if the senator did not introduce changes in the consolidated version of the bill.

Lagman explained that in his version of the bill, the discount amount was only placed at 50 percent and business establishments were to enjoy tax cuts.

"He (Pangilinan) just copied the bill, but to make it look that there is a difference between the two versions, he raised the discount amount from 50 to 75 percent, and removed the provision on tax deduction," Lagman told dzMM.

Aside from the discounts, the bill also entitles Filipinos who have reached the age of 100 to a P100,000 cash gift.
Aside from the P100,000 cash gift, the bill also calls for the awarding of a letter of recognition from the president. A posthumous award will be given in case the centenarian is already deceased.

The likelihood of the bill being passed into law in the next Congress is high, with Malacañang saying that legislators may still refile the bill without the objectionable provisions.