Mall, tenants called out on lack of senior citizen lanes
The city council on Monday through Resolution 14, s. 2020 calling the attention of the management of SM Baguio to remind all its concessionaires or tenants to comply with Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, as well as ordinances and other laws mandating the provision of priority lanes for senior citizens, persons with disability, and pregnant women.
The request arose from the alleged omissions of employees of a Globe Telecommunication outlet at SM City Baguio for not recognizing and implementing Section 4(k) of RA 9994 which provides for express lanes and/or giving priority for senior citizens in all commercial establishments.
In a letter dated Dec. 19, 2019 to the city council, Atty. Rowena K. Lagasca claimed to have witnessed an incident that transpired at the Globe outlet in SM Baguio last Dec. 18 wherein a senior citizen customer whom she learned to had been waiting for more than an hour was denied or completely told by a customer services employee of the telecommunication outlet to fall in line when she requested to be given priority being a senior citizen. Despite the elder’s plea, the employee insisted that there is also queuing for priority.
Lagasca added that as a concerned citizen, she intervened and informed the employee that she is violating the law for not giving priority to the senior citizen but the latter ignored her.
Then she heard from the outlet’s OIC manager saying that there is no priority under the Globe policy so she politely revealed her identity as a lawyer, and only then that said manager continued that senior citizens may be entertained alternately with regular customers.
The scenario was followed by a manifestation of another Globe employee, who introduced herself as an OIC manager, telling all the costumers that there was no instruction from Globe regarding priority lanes. When informed of the establishment’s lack of a sign for priority lane catering to senior citizens, PWDs and pregnant women, the OIC manager said that the signage is not part of the design for Globe office.
During a meeting to clarify the issue, Globe Telecom representative Gallardo Auson said they have been implementing a good and uniform queuing system in all their stores or business centers for PWDs, senior citizens, and pregnant women, only that it is now made computerized, with which many customers are not familiar.
He acknowledged the fact that the outlet has no signage about the computerized queuing system and apologized for their lapses. He promised that they will put back the signage for priority lane which was removed at the cashier area when their system was computerized.
When asked by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan if the apology from the Globe Telecom representative would be okay, Lagasca stressed that the apology should not be addressed to her, but to the senior citizens who had been waiting for hours at the Globe outlet during that day and were not given proper attention, since there was also another old woman complaining that day who was there for almost two hours as per her letter.
John Paul Arnaiz, who represents SM City Baguio, said they asked Globe to address the issue, particularly in providing the required signages, given the fact that senior citizens do not rely much on digital system and not everybody have cellphones and such mobile applications. He also appreciated Lagasca’s effort in raising the concern so that they would know also how to evolve their services.
One councilor also advised that the proper thing to do in such similar case/s is for the concerned senior citizens to file a complaint in the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, which shall assist them in filing a case in court.
The mall management was also advised to include such reminder as part of orientation to its tenants.
Meanwhile, the council in Resolution 26, s. 2019 has requested Baguio Rep. Marquez Go to introduce a bill mandating local, government units to allocate one percent of their Internal Revenue Allotment for plans, programs and projects for senior citizens, and another one percent for same purpose to PWDs.
The resolution was passed because the existing one percent allocation from the respective budgets of LGUs is not sufficient to carry out its intended purpose in addressing the necessities of the senior citizens and PWD.
In Resolution 13, s. 2019, the council confirmed the memorandum of agreement between the city government of Baguio and the management of Urdaneta Waste Management regarding the use of the engineered sanitary landfill in Urdaneta City as the depository of the city’s waste material.
The agreement was signed on Jan. 11, 2019 by former Mayor Mauricio Domogan and the manager of the waste management facility.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong, through his secretary, Engr. Felipe Puzon Jr., has requested for the confirmation and implementation of the MOA for the best interest of the city.