IT was a long day for 63-year-old Estrella Cabayon who walked from barangay Cogon Pardo to City Hall, hoping she could claim the P3,000 cash gift.
“Sukad pa ko Biyernes ga follow-up (to OSCA for revalidation) pero na-shock ko ngano di pa gihapon ko makadawat,” said Cabayon who arrived yesterday at 11 a.m. (I have been following up my revalidation with the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, but to my shock, I still cannot receive my cash assistance).”
It was already almost 3 p.m. and Cabayon did not have her lunch yet. She said she only had porridge for breakfast.
Cabayon has lived alone in barangay Cogon Pardo in the last 30 years. She scavenges junk metals for a living.
Her average income, she said, is P20 a day.
During the distribution last Monday, she went as early as 8 a.m. in their barangay hall in Cogon Pardo to claim the cash but to her dismay, her name was not on the list.
Though suffering from high blood pressure, she painstakingly walked under the scorching heat to City Hall yesterday.
The Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) advised her to wait for her special payroll on June 30.
However, due to her condition Cabayon was getting impatient.
Aside from her hypertension, Cabayon has cataract.
She said she will use the P3,000 to buy medicines for hypertension.
Thousands of poor and elderly share Cabayon’s plight as Cebu City Hall said it will ensure that the financial aid to senior citizens goes to bonafide residents of the city.
Like others similarly situated Cabayon left yesterday with a promise and a prayer that she can have her cash as soon as possible.
“Nag-ampo ko nga makadawat ko ani,” she said.
(I will just pray, I can receive my share of the assistance.)
Asst. City Treasurer Emma Villarete admitted that because of the influx of registrants, OSCA could not clean up the old lists and update new registrants every year.
“Dili gyud na malikayan kay every year dili dayon malimpyo nila,” Villarete explained.
Villarete said the City Treasurer's Office (CTO) will just process the payroll but the determination of qualified beneficiaries and the validation of their “existing” names should be the jurisdiction of the DSWS and Office for the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
Concha, head of DSWS, said the masterlist was with OSCA during the last quarter of 2011.
Many senior citizens complain about the lack of coordination between OSCA and DSWS.
Staff from the (OSCA) and the City Treasurers Office (CTO) facilitated the release of the first tranche of the financial aid to Cebu City residents aged 60-years-old and above last Monday.
Elders aged more than 60 years old will have to be a voter of Cebu City and a resident for at least five years before they qualify for assistance.
Mayor Mike Rama said that if elders are registered only with the OSCA office this year, they will have to wait until next year for their share of the city's financial assistance.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development 7 (DSWD-7) had referred her to Velez Hospital for her cataract treatment and operation.
“It will cost P40,000 for the operation alone but the over-all cost of the operation would reach to P200,000,” Cabayon said in Cebuano.
When asked if she will try to ask help from people, she replied, “Asa man ko mangita; wala man ko'y pamlite ug pirme ko mapasaran sa kaon. (Where will I ask for assistance, I even miss out on my meals and I don’t have fare to go around.) /Tweeny M. Malinao, Correspondent