Senior citizens are more likely to be adversely affected during calamities as they account for more than double of the mortality rates during emergencies. This was one of the things that the Department of Science and Technology Resource Persons emphasized during the forum on disaster preparedness yesterday.

The said forum tackled on disaster preparedness for Senior Citizens facilitated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office IX with the help of the Department of Science and Technology, who provided the resource persons during the one-day activity.

Ms. Thelma Diego, focal person for disaster preparedness from DOST pointed out that the older people should be better prepared during any disaster through continuous education and awareness to reduce their vulnerabilities.

The topics discussed include Early Warning Devices, Hydromet Hazards and Geological Hazards presented by Ms. Maribel Enriquez, the PAG-ASA Bureau Chief and Mr. Alan Labayog, Philvocs Zamboanga Officer-in-charge.

DSWD 9 Senior Citizen Focal Person Jamila Arasid said that while a lot has been done for senior citizens in the country, their vulnerabilities during disaster have yet to be addressed, however, accessibility to programs and services and availment to their rights and privileges still remain to be the major concern among the older people.

Meanwhile, DSWD 9 Regional Director Atty. Araceli Solamillo expressed support to the recently signed Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10868 of the Centenarian Act of 2016 last week. The law states that all Filipinos who have reached 100 years old and above will be honored with a Centenarian gift worth P100,000 which serves as a longevity incentive.

“We are especially excited for the Filipinos centenarians who will be conferred with the recognition that they rightfully deserve and since we believe that one of the signs of a compassionate society is its responsiveness to the needs of its elderly members.” Solamillo said in a statement.