MANILA (DWDD) – “Ang pangunahing dapat tumugon sa mga pangangailangan ng mga residential facilities natin ay ang gobyerno. Ngunit dahil limitado lamang ang tulong na kayang ibigay ng ating pamahalaan, malaking bagay kung ang ating mga kababayan at ang komunidad ay tumulong din at magbigay ng tulong para matiyak na may mas maayos na serbisyong matatanggap ang ating mga lolo at lola (The government should primarily respond to the needs of our residential facilities. However, the assistance that it can provide is limited. Given this, it is also important that even private citizens and the rest of our communities help and pitch in so we can provide better care and services for our elderly who rely on our compassion and assistance).”
This is the appeal of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo as she asked the general public to help the Department in its efforts to provide better and improved services for senior citizens staying at its residential facilities, specifically at the Golden Reception and Action Center for the Elderly and other Special Cases (GRACES) Home for the Elderly in Quezon City.
GRACES is one of four DSWD residential facilities for senior citizens who experienced neglect and were abandoned by their families. Established in 1968, the facility is popularly known in the past as Golden Acres (now transferred to Tanay, Rizal). It operated under the name GRACES in 2012.
The center can only accommodate 150 occupants, but as the number of neglected senior citizens increases, it has no choice but to accept more residents. Senior citizens rescued on the streets by social workers and the local government units of the National Capital Region (NCR) are also taken to the facility. To date, there are a total of 310 residents in the facility, resulting in congestion. Among the problems the center faces are poor facilities and equipment such as beds, stretchers, wheelchairs, canes, walkers, and crutches for all residents. Many of the 49-year old center’s buildings and facilities also need renovation.
“Isa ang GRACES sa mga unang binisita kong residential facilities noong bagong dating ako sa DSWD, at nakita kong kapos na kapos talaga ito (GRACES is one of first residential facilities I visited when I joined the DSWD and I saw that it is really in need). The facility actually reflects the general congestion in NCR,” Sec. Taguiwalo explained during an interview for a television program.
According to Farah Herrera, the Officer-In-Charge of the center, it was only in 2016 when GRACES received a P3.2 million capital outlay for the renovation of its facilities since the start of its operation in 2012.
“Ongoing po ang rehabilitation ng aming ward. For 2017, mayroon pong budget na P26 million ang center. Majority dito ay napupunta sa salary ng mga staff, pagkain at gamot ng mga residente, at iba pang maintenance and operating expenses ng center. Sa ngayon, P85 yung ating budget per capita per day (The rehabilitation of our ward is ongoing. For 2017, we have a budget of P26 million for the center. Majority of this budget is allotted for the salary of the staff, food and medicines of the residents, and for the maintenance and other operating expenses of the center. For now, the budget accommodates only P85 budget per capita per day),” she explained.
Meanwhile, Sec. Taguiwalo said she is aware of the needs of the center, noting that its budget is really not enough to cover all the needs of the residents.
“Una, hindi sapat yung P85 na cost of care para sa pagkain ng mga residente sa isang araw. We are talking of three meals a day for that amount. Pangalawa, congested ang center at kung makikita mo talaga, kailangan na ng renovation ng ibang mga structures. Pangatlo, kulang na kulang ang personnel at mga equipment natin (First, the P85 cost of care for the food of a resident per day is not enough. We are talking of three meals a day for that amount. Second, the center is congested and needs renovation. Third, it is understaffed and lacks the needed equipment),” she said.
“Noong dumating ako ay humingi na po tayo ng mga dagdag na budget para sa mga rehabilitation centers natin, kabilang ang GRACES, kasi nakita natin talaga na mababa nga ‘yong cost of care. Humingi tayo ng dagdag na P100-P150 for 2016, ngunit hindi iyon na-approve. Hindi rin iyon na-approve ngayong 2017 kaya hinabol natin sa 2018. Mukhang malaki naman ang posibilidad na maaprubahan ito (When I joined the DSWD, we have already requested for additional budget for our centers, including GRACES, because we have seen that the cost of care is really small. We have asked to increase it to P100-P150 in 2016 and in 2017, but it was not approved. So, we included it in our proposed budget for 2018 and I think there is a big chance for it to be approved),” Sec. Taguiwalo added.
According to the Secretary, the DSWD needs all the help it can get so it can provide better care and services for the elderly residents of its rehabilitation centers.
“Generous sponsors can adopt a cottage, ward, or a facility para mas maayos ang pasilidad at tinutuluyan ng mga nakakatanda natin sa GRACES (Generous sponsors can adopt a cottage, ward, or a facility so our residents will have better facilities and places to stay in GRACES). They could also offer some of their time to volunteer to help our social workers in the center,” she said.
“Ang Pilipinas ay kinikilala bilang isa sa mga bansa na may paggalang at pagmamahal sa mga nakakatanda natin. Let us continue this good moral character we have been known for and take care of our elderly wholeheartedly. Pasasalamat natin ito sa kanila matapos silang magsilbi sa kanilang pamilya at sa komunidad(The Philippines is known to be a country that loves and respects the elderly very highly. Let us continue this good moral character we have been known for and take care of our elderly wholeheartedly as a sign of gratitude after they have served their families and communities in their younger days),” Sec. Taguiwalo urged the public. DSWD / SMS