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MANILA, Philippines - The Philippine Retirement Authority (PRA) has named Makati City as the ‘Most Retirement- and Ageing-Friendly City’ in the country for having fully complied with the Age-friendly City Criteria of the World Health Organization.
Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin S. Binay was also given the “Best of RADAR 2012” Award by the PRA in recognition of his “exemplary initiatives in leading the city as the ‘Most Retirement- and Ageing-friendly City’ and for his “commitment and contribution to the retirement industry.”
Binay is the first local chief executive in the country to have received the award, while Makati is the first city to be recognized under the PRA’s RADAR, which stands for Retirement Areas Deemed as Retiree-Friendly.
Binay thanked the PRA recognizing the initiatives of the city government for the elderly in Makati. “Makati has attained its present status because our senior citizens have toiled hard ahead of us. The city government would like to give them more benefits to pay back what they done for us, the younger generation,” the mayor said.
According to PRA, Makati has the largest number of foreign retirees in the country, with 70 to 80 percent from Asia (e.g. Chinese, Japanese, Koreans, etc.), 5 percent from Europe, 5 percent from North America, 5 percent comprising Filipinos who have either changed citizenship or availed themselves of dual citizenship, while the rest consists of other nationalities. Its data show that Makati has the highest attraction rate because of the proximity of malls and hospitals, security, investment and business-friendly climate, and livable environment.
The awarding ceremony at City Hall was attended by PRA department managers Thelma Rupa, Orlando Habitan and Noehl Bautista, division chief Darius Maya, CorPlan OIC Mervin Magbuhay, Makati Tourism Officer Carmelito Anzures, and Tourism Office and ICRD personnel.
The WHO criteria for an age-friendly city consists of: a) Outdoor Spaces and Buildings (green, clean, pleasant, safe and sufficient), b) Transportation (safe, frequent, and reliable public transport; well regulated traffic flow; and safe and sufficient parking and drop-offs; c) Housing (sufficient and affordable); d) Social Participation (events, activities, and attractions are available in convenient venues); e) Respect and Social Inclusion (older people are regularly consulted and included in community activities for “families”); f) Civic Participation and Employment (flexible options and opportunities are available for older people i.e. training, volunteer work, and self-employment; g) Communication and Information (basic and effective communication system is available, and regular information i.e. print and broadcast information and access to computers and internet can be publicly accessed); and h) Community and Health Services (adequate range of health and community support services are offered).
Makati City recently increased the bi-annual allowances of the senior citizens through Ordinance No. 2012-017 to P1,500 every June and December for those aged 70 to 79 years old, and P2,000 for those aged 80 and above. Other benefits given to the elderly include mobility aids (e.g. walking sticks, quad canes, wheelchairs), exemption from color coding, free movies, birthday cakes delivered during their birthdays, free haircut and salon treatments, free massage, and BLU Card benefits including the cash gift and burial assistance.