VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Post about gov’t cash gift for senior citizens FALSE, applies only to centenarians

YouTube channel VINZ WORLD, which purports to be an information source for senior citizens, falsely claimed in a Feb. 3 video that cash gifts will now be given to the elderly who reach the ages of 80 to 95, under an amended Centenarians Act of 2016 or Republic Act 10868.

This is false. RA 10868 provides a cash gift of P100,000 only for Filipinos who reach 100 years of age.

The channel spuriously announced in its video, which has gotten 204,000 views, that the elderly will now be given P25,000 as they reach the ages of 80, 85, 90 and 95. More, it said centenarians would be given an additional P100,000 for every subsequent birthday.

The untrue video bore the headline: “SENIOR CITIZEN 2021! CASH GIFT NG GOBYERNO P25,000 PESOS PARA SA MGA SENIORS CITIZEN NG PILIPINAS (P25,000 cash gift for senior citizens of the Philippines)!”

A few hours after posting, VINZ WORLD issued a clarification in its video’s description box and comments section that the “new version” of the law is only a bill in its final reading in Congress. This is wrong again.

In June 2020, the House Committee on Senior Citizens approved a substitute bill that consolidated several measures seeking to distribute the cash gift for centenarians in several tranches. Manila Bulletin reported that the measure proposes to give P25,000 every five years to senior citizens beginning their 80th birthday until their 95th, and to provide P1 million to those who reach 101 and 102 years of age.

Three new bills seeking to amend RA 10868 have been filed since June 2020, namely HBs 7764, 7991 and 8003. All remain pending at the committee level.

VINZ WORLD also mentioned the late Senior Citizens Party-List Rep. Francisco “Jun” Datol Jr. as having “passed” the law. Datol led the Committee on Senior Citizens before he passed away in August 2020 due to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

His bill, HB 5717, was among those included in the consolidation. Datol proposed only to give P90,000 to senior citizens who reach 90 years of age, and give the remaining P10,000 on their 100th birthday.

The untrue video continues to circulate as the government prepares for the rollout of the vaccination program. Senior citizens, being among the most vulnerable to the disease, are in the government’s priority list of vaccine recipients, specifically under the A-2 priority, according to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque in a Feb. 5 press briefing.

According to social media monitoring tool CrowdTangle, the false video has gotten over 8,600 interactions on Facebook.

VINZ WORLD has over 45,000 subscribers. The channel joined Youtube on Oct 11, 2012, but only started to upload videos in 2020.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)