John Bongat City Mayor Naga City Dear Mayor Bongat,

I am writing for, and in behalf of, the Senior Citizens of Naga City. In the three years that I have lived as a senior citizen here in Naga, I have found out that the Office of Senior Citizens' Affairs at City Hall, which is supposed to help senior citizens enjoy the benefits and privileges under the Senior Citizens Act, is itself the bane for us, senior citizens here in Naga City.

Every time I go to the OSCA to secure a new medicine booklet, people there demand that I pay P100.00 for which no official receipt is issued. When I asked to have my ID replaced because of my transfer to a new barangay, the same demand was made: P100.00. When I complained about having to pay for the new ID, I was then asked, instead, to buy a raffle ticket also for P100.00. On all these occasions, however, I refused to hand out any money and argued that senior citizens' IDs and booklets are given free of charge. Whenever I argue this way, the ID or the booklet is given to me free of any charge. But I hear a lot of stories from my senior citizen friends that they paid P100.00 for their IDs and pay P100.00 every time they secure medicine booklets for which no receipts are given because they thought they were required to pay. Some even were forced to buy raffle tickets even after paying P100.00 for their IDs or booklets. This practice, Sir, tolerated by the past administration and past OSCA Heads and present officers and board members of the so-called Naga City Senior Citizen's Federation Inc., is corrupt and must be stopped. We should be served, not bilked, by OSCA employees. And whoever benefited and continues to benefit from this corrupt practice should be removed, dismissed or fired from the OSCA and banned from being an officer or board member of any organization which seeks to serve the interest of Naga City's senior citizens. A funny thing also happened when I and my high school batch mate, Mr. Jaime Veneracion, decided to attend the meeting in February this year of the so-called Naga City Senior Citizen's Federation Inc. at the OSCA to find out what projects it has for senior citizens. We were treated as intruders and asked what our business was in the meeting. When Mr. Veneracion informed them that we were seniors also, we were nonetheless told that we could not participate in the meeting. In the meeting, they were haggling about some sacks of rice allegedly given by Mayor Robredo's wife. Before we left, however, we were informed that the meeting was being attended supposedly by presidents of Barangay Senior Citizens Association from the 27 barangays of Naga. When we asked how they became presidents, someone mumbled about elections conducted among senior citizens in the different barangays. It is turning out now, however, from what we hear from other senior citizens in other barangays, that, like us, they were never informed of an election in their own barangay. It seems clear that most, if not all, of these so-called BASCA presidents usurped their office through political connections. Clearly, these "BASCA presidents" do not have the mandate of the senior citizens of Naga to represent them since no free and transparent elections were held. We were also able to secure a copy of the supposedly amended and revised Constitution and ByLaws of the so-called Naga City Senior Citizen's Federation Inc. which claims to represent all senior citizens in Naga. As it turns out, the supposedly amended and revised Constitution and By-

Laws were never submitted for ratification to the general membership of senior citizens of Naga but approved only by the erstwhile board of directors. They amended, revised and approved and we, the senior citizens of Naga, are supposed to accept their actions without question. Are these "board members" there to serve and promote the welfare of senior citizens, or to preserve their own vested interests? There are many more issues that need to be be threshed out regarding the senior citizens' affairs here in Naga: like the accounting of funds given by City Hall and the Barangays; the illegal issuance of Senior Citizen IDs to non-seniors; the non-compliance of some establishments and bus companies in giving the prescribed 20% discount; questions about the much ballyhooed free movies at SM Cinemas, etc. All these concerns can be properly addressed if a person who understands and appreciates the interest and welfare of senior citizens is sitting as OSCA Head. And this is our ardent request from you, Sir: Please designate a capable and honest person to administer the Office of Senior Citizens' Affairs so that we, senior citizens of Naga, can truly enjoy our remaining years in Naga not only in peace, but still, hopefully, in fruitful service to our community. I am begging your indulgence, Sir, for furnishing other people and members of the media with copies of this letter. I hope that this letter would encourage other senior citizens to come out and air their views on the OSCA and, hopefully, to get involved in senior citizens' issues and concerns. Very truly yours, JAIME G. AREJOLA 567 Bagong Lipunan, Sta. Cruz, Naga City August 17, 2010

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