SENIOR citizens will soon be getting a P10,000 cash gift upon reaching the age of 80 and every five years after until the age of 95 under the newly signed expanded Centenarians Act.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Monday signed a bill that seeks to give senior citizens who turned 80 a P10,000 cash gift.

Filipinos in the Philippines and overseas will get the aid every five years until they turn 95, according to the expanded Centenarians Act. The original law entitled Filipinos aged a century to a P100,000 cash gift.

“They deserve more than cash in an envelope,” Mr. Marcos said in a speech after signing the measure at the presidential palace. “What they should get is a support infrastructure that every society owes to its graying population.”

The law will create a database of Filipino elderly eligible for the benefits. There were about 9.2 million Filipino senior citizens in 2020, according to the local statistics agency.

“The enactment of the measure is a tangible expression of our commitment to enhancing the well-being of our senior citizens and reflects our collective dedication to building a society that honors and supports every generation,” Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian, who co-sponsored the bill in the Senate, said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Party-list Rep. Elizaldy S. Co urged the Budget department to finance the law using unprogrammed funds under this year’s national budget.

“The amendments to the Centenarians Act of 2016 should be funded by the Department of Budget and Management this year at the earliest,” the congressman, who heads the House committee on appropriations, said in a statement.

The government could also fund it using savings, Party-list Rep. Rodolfo M. Ordanes, who heads the committee on senior citizens, said in a separate statement.

Congress failed to allot a budget for the law during budget debates last year.

“Use of the unprogrammed funds or savings can be justified because the law is new, and the amount needed would not be huge because the number of seniors turning 80, 85, 90 and 95 this year would not be too many,” Mr. Ordanes said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza and Kenneth Christiane L. Basilio