71 females among Cordillera’s 120 centenarians

BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera region has recorded 120 centenarians, with the addition of the oldest living mambabatok (tattoo artist) Maria Oggay, popularly known as “Ina Whang-Od”.
“As of March 21, the Cordillera has recorded 120 residents who have reached the age of 100,” Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Cordillera marketing unit chief, Nerizza Faye Villanueva, said on Thursday.
Villanueva said Ina Whang-od, who celebrated her 100th birthday last March 7, is the ninth centenarian in Kalinga province and one of the 71 female centenarians in the region.
The DSWD-Cordillera delivered the PHP100,000 cash gift and a letter of felicitation to the country’s oldest living mambabatok on her birthday at her residence in Barangay Buscalan, Tinglayan, Kalinga.
There are 30 other centenarians in Abra, 27 in Mountain Province, 21 in Benguet, 13 in Baguio City, 11 in Ifugao, nine in Kalinga and nine in Apayao.
Villanueva said the oldest is 115 years old from Natonin, Mountain Province, but has passed away already. The second oldest is a 113-year-old who resides in Conner, Apayao.
Villanueva also said that all the 120 centenarians have received their PHP100,000 cash gift from the government and a “letter of felicitation” from the President.
Republic Act 9994 or “An Act Granting Additional Benefits and Privileges to Senior Citizens, further amending RA 7432 as amended, otherwise known as ‘An Act to Maximize the Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges’,” provides several incentives to senior citizens who have reached the age of 100.
A separate amount is provided by the local government unit, which has passed an ordinance related to the giving of special incentives to centenarians.
“Turning a century old is the biggest milestone a person can achieve. You are very special and honored for all the great experiences and accomplishments that life has given you. May you be surrounded with happy memories from your family,” reads the letter of felicitation received by Ina Whang-od.
“We are honored and elated to recognize this milestone of a pride of the Cordillera. But it is not only Whang-od who is our treasure. All our centenarians and elderlies deserve the acknowledgment and respect from all of us for they possess the wealth of experience and gift of wisdom that only through time that they were able to acquire,” Villanueva said, relaying the message of DSWD-Cordillera Director Janet Armas in an earlier press release.
“This is also very timely since we are observing Women’s Month this March. Apo Whang-od is an epitome of how a woman can bring pride and honor to her community, as well as challenge the misconceptions that our society has,” Armas added. **PNA

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