MANILA- The House of Representatives will adopt the Senate version of the bill creating a national commission for senior citizens, House Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo said Thursday.
Arroyo said her chamber would adopt the bill once Congress resumes session following the election break in May.
"The House will adopt the Senate version so there will be no more delay after which we will send the consolidated version with the Senate version to the Office of the President,” Arroyo said during an oversight hearing of the House Committee on Senior Citizens.
Adopting another chamber’s version of the bill foregoes the need for a bicameral conference committee to reconcile the clashing versions of the House and Senate.
Arroyo likewise proposed another oversight committee hearing to help craft the implementing rules and regulations.
The Senate last month approved on final reading Senate Bill 2159 which seeks to create a national commission for elderly Filipinos.
The House meanwhile approved its own version of the proposed measure, House Bill 8837, which was principally authored by Senior Citizen party-list Rep. Francisco Datol Jr.
Under the proposed measure, the state is required to:
1. Adopt measures whereby the country’s senior citizens are assisted and appreciated by the community as a whole
2. Provide services and activities beneficial to senior citizens, their families, and the communities they serve
3. Establish community-based health and rehabilitation, educational and socio-economic programs for all senior citizens.
The proposed commission meanwhile will have the following responsibilities:
1. Ensure full implementation of laws, policies and programs of the government pertaining to senior citizens
2. Review and conduct studies on the same, and recommend appropriate actions thereon to Congress and the President
3. Formulate policies for the promotion and protection of the rights and well-being of senior citizens
4. Conduct information, education and communication campaigns to raise awareness on the rights of senior citizens
5. Represent the country in international functions, fora or conferences on senior citizens and establish and maintain linkages with the international senior citizen or senior citizen-serving institutions or organizations and counterpart government agencies of other states.