Senior citizens rights advocate, lawyer Romulo Macalintal, announced that the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) has just issued its circular to all local government units (LGUs) that registration as voters is not required for senior citizens to get benefits from the LGUs.

Macalintal said that he just received a letter from Director Anna Liza Bonagua of DILG informing him that, in response to his letter to the DILG dated December 12, 2022, the DILG recently issued Memorandum Circular MC 2023-045, dated March 17, 2023 which, among others, provide that “senior citizens need not be registered as voters to avail” of benefits extended by law.

The DILG Circular likewise “clarified that benefits for senior citizens given by LGUs exclusively within their jurisdiction should not limit the residency proof to voter’s registration ID only.”

Macalintal said that Section 5.2 of the DILG Memorandum Circular emphasized that “LGUs may not require additional requirements for senior citizens availing of the benefits mentioned in RA 7432 (Senior Citizens Law), as amended. LGUs cannot pass ordinance requiring senior citizens to be registered as voters in order to avail the benefits provided by law.”

“Section 6 of the said circular mandates that it takes effect immediately”, Macalintal added.

The DILG also expressed its “deepest gratitude for (Macalintal’s) efforts in promoting the welfare of our senior citizens.”

In December 2022, Macalintal wrote a letter to DILG Secretary Benhur Abalos to clarify why certain LGUs require senior citizens within their jurisdiction to be registered as voters to get benefits from the LGUs. Macalintal said that such a requirement is unconstitutional because it makes mandatory the registration of voter when it is clear that registration as voter is merely voluntary.

Macalintal also stressed that laws on senior citizens rights do not require registration as voter as a requirement for an elderly to be entitled to senior citizens benefits.

Macalintal expressed his gratitude to Secretary Abalos and the entire staff of DILG for their prompt action on such a very important issue.

“With this very significant development, I am confident that our senior citizens will no longer find it difficult to claim their benefits from their respective LGUs”, Macalintal said.