CHR Region III intervention prompted the reconstruction of a senior citizen center in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan

CHR Region III intervention prompted the reconstruction of a senior citizen center in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan

by Azenath L. Formoso

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in Region III interceded to ensure the reconstruction of the Senior Citizen Center in Harmony Hills Subdivision in San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan. A portion of the said senior facility was mistakenly demolished during a clearing operation conducted by the local government unit (LGU) of San Jose Del Monte City on 19 March 2022 to expand the space for the City Health Center VII.

Figure 1. Dialogue between representatives of the Senior Citizens Association and the barangay officals of Annex 2, Barangay Muzon facilitated by CHR Region III investigators, namely SI Norberto Fontillas and SI Joel Ocampo.

CHR Special Investigators (SI) Norberto Fontillas and Joel Ocampo responded to the complaint of the Senior Citizens Association and facilitated a dialogue between the association and the barangay officials who led the clearing operations on 24 March 2022. The barangay officials of Muzon clarified that they only intended to clear obstructive structures, which included a garage attached to the back of the Senior Citizen Center hence accidentally damaging the center.

Through the CHR’s intervention, the barangay officials took full responsibility for the structural damages to the Senior Citizen Center. Jonathan S. Gumabon, the Officer-in-Charge of Annex 2, Barangay Muzon, committed to reconstructing and repairing the facility as well as replacing old roofing sheets with new ones. He also offered the annex of the barangay hall to serve as the temporary center of the elderly while the reconstruction is ongoing.

Victoria Bondoc and Rosalie Bueno, officers of the Senior Citizen Association, expressed gratitude and appreciation for the prompt and compassionate service of the CHR Region III. They also conveyed their satisfaction of the commitment and initial response of OIC Gumabon.

“Dahil sa CHR, agad na tiniyak ng barangay at LGU na pananagutan ang damage sa aming Center. Umaksyon agad ang mga kawani ng CHR at tinulungan kami para matiyak ang commitment at agreement mula sa barangay at LGU,” Bondoc said.

The LGU’s city engineer also took the initiative to assess the integrity of the entire facility. Through the efforts of CHR investigators Fontillas and Ocampo, the LGU and the barangay officials also committed to fully ensuring the safety of the building during the reconstruction process.

SI Fontillas explained the importance of the Senior Citizen Center to ensure the welfare and wellness of the members of the Senior Citizen Association.

“Ang Senior Citizen Center ay parang second home na ng mga seniors doon sa area. Dito sila nag-mi-meeting at community talaga nila ito kaya mahalaga na maayos ang nasirang center nila,” SI Fontillas said.

Figure 2. The Senior Citizens Association in Harmony Hills conveys their gratitude to CHR Region III through a Facebook story.

He also underscored the obligation of the government to address the concerns of the senior citizens so they can continue conduct activities that will contribute to dignified and meaningful life.

“Ito ang mga simple at konkretong paraan para ma-improve ang well-being ng mga elderly natin para meaningful at productive ang kanilang senior years,” SI Fontillas added.

Figure 3. SI Fontillas and SI Ocampo of CHR Region III conducts validation on the ongoing reconstruction of the Senior Citizen Center. OIC Gumabon of Annex 2 in Barangay Muzon closely supervises the rebuilding of the center.

The Senior Citizen Center is now undergoing reconstruction as committed by the barangay officials and LGU. During the latest validation activity conducted by the SI Fontillas and SI Ocampo on 2 June 2022, Dionisio Aque, barangay captain of Muzon, and OIC Gumabon, assured CHR Region III that the reconstruction of the center will be completed on 13 June 2022. CHR Region III shall continue to monitor the agreements made to ensure their satisfactory fulfilment.

Among the mandates of the CHR is to uphold the rights of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors of the society, which include senior citizens. ###