August 30, 2010

PHILIPPINES: Centenarian Day - Sept 25 - will honour Filipinos who live to 100

MANILA, Philippines / Manila Standard Today / Business / August 30, 2010

Live a hundred

By Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan

The proposed House Bill 834 motivates senior citizens to live a hundred years. This bill will also honor and grant benefits to Filipino centenarians on Sept. 25, which has been proposed to be Centenarian Day.

Indeed, we must honor our centenarians because even when they have retired early (and permanently retired in many institutions at age 70), they continue to peak and remain productive.

I know of three senior citizens who are active members of society, as they journey toward their centenary.

Septuagenarian engineer
Br. Crisanto Moreno FSC is 75 years old and the oldest living Filipino De La Salle Brother in the Philippines. Though retired, he is authorized to sign checks of De La Salle University, and continues to look after the many buildings of the De La Salle Philippines Inc., many of which were built under his supervision. He also continues to practice his profession as a civil engineer-consultant of non-De La Salle schools in order to build up an educational fund for the young Brothers.

In 2009, he was honored by La Salle Greenhills for his architectural concept and design as building engineer-in-charge of the construction of St. Benilde Gymnasium, a landmark likened to Araneta Coliseum. This gym was the historic site of the Namfrel count during the 1986 snap election and of late, the venue of the wake of President Corazon Aquino.

Born in Oton, Iloilo, Br. Cris has a sister who is a member of the Daughters of St. Paul de Chartres. Br. Cris, his sister and their other siblings manage the Maria Mediodia Moreno Foundation, which has become a channel of the Moreno Christian charitable and social responsibility projects.

Octogenarian supervisor
Eugenia “Gene” Agravante is an 81-year-old supervisor of the San Antonio Community School at Singalong. She travels everyday from Antipolo to Manila to be with Alma del Mar, Gina Ferreras and Cynthia Batungbakal as they teach some 300 nursery pupils in two sessions.

According to Gene, she got involved with the school in 1998 as a social worker of St. Scholastica’s College and as a catechist and family planning advocate of St. Anthony parish church. It was Sr. Francoise of St. Paul who founded the school in 1973 and later turned it over to St. Scholastica’s College. The school then had a feeding program, catechism classes, and rosary circle with bible study.

From Gene’s socio-religious experience, she later broke her “culture of silence” by actively teaching human rights anchored on biblical principles. Today, she dreams of becoming a lawyer to help defend the poor and the oppressed.

Nonagenarian directress
Mamang Luz, my mother, is 94 years old and she is the directress-proprietress of Haven’s Learning School in Bacolod City. On school days, she stands at the gate of Haven to say, “Good morning” to incoming pre-schoolers. Then she goes back to her room to rest and by noontime she stands again at the gate to bid the pupils goodbye. Two teachers and a registrar-administrator (my youngest sister Jo) help her manage the school she founded in 1993. Jo tells me that our mother still observes her teachers, and she sometimes takes over the class to demonstrate her time-tested methods.

She holds an elementary teacher certificate and is a master of arts in teaching elementary agriculture graduate. She retired from the public school with a rank of principal 3. Her love for teaching and passion for learning inspired me to follow her profession.

I believe her maternal DNA is resilient. Her mom, Ana Profetessa Clavel vda. De Torrecarion (who named me after her husband, Emiliano) died at the age of 88 and her grandmother, Lola “Putot (which means Shortie)” Rodregaso died at the age of 101.

As our nation matures, it is critical that the government does not only provide benefits for the senior citizens discounts and privileges. The Singaporean model has an employment program for the elderly who are still active and productive. RH Bill 834 must create jobs for the elderly, if society expects the elderly to live a hundred years.

It is also my experience that several companies I patronize are sensitive to the needs and requirements of senior citizens. We hope they will continue to propagate programs to honor the senior citizens of the country.

May senior citizens and service providers all
live to be a hundred years old.

Dr. Emiliano T. Hudtohan, the author, teaches at the De La Salle University College of Business. 

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