Group of elderly women early Tuesday stormed the grounds of the Capitol and petitioned the 54th National Legislature to amend the 1975 Act creating the National Social Security and welfare Cooperation (NASSCORP) as revised in 1988 and 2017 to address welfare of Liberians.
Quoting late American civil rights campaigner, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the woman said ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is what you are doing for others?’
“This should be the question we expect our Legislators to answer with the mandates we gave them without people knocking their doors for personal benefits. What are the national programs on healthcare, food stamp, etc that we can receive help from without knocking our leaders’ doors?” They asked.
Protesting under the banner “Liberian Citizens”, the women said many Liberians have become experts in working with empty stomach, wondering when and where their next meal will come from.
“Looking at our senior citizens and persons with disabilities at major intersections, supermarkets, gas stations and in the communities begging for aids, mostly with kids that should be in schools during school hours, should have rang the bells for prompt actions in the past 32 years”, they said.
Reading the petition on behalf of the petitioners, Madam FubbiHenries said as citizens, they have a responsibility to ensure Liberians are provided better opportunities, while lamenting the high cost of living daily.
They recommend appropriation of US$15,000,000.00 annually in the national budget plus other contributions to NASSCORP by employers and employees through monthly payroll deductions to include public servants.
The petitioners also want healthcare for citizens from ages 0-5 to 55 years and above, including people with disabilities to benefit subsidized medical insurance as well as for working class or those who voluntarily apply and contribute. The women called for a national rehabilitation program for drug addicts and other substance users, including skills training program.
They also want government to introduce school feeding program for all public schools, food stamp for senior citizens and persons with disabilities and other categories and criteria of beneficiaries to be determined by NASSCORP with a coupon system per beneficiary to selected businesses for food and other supplies.
Receiving the petition on behalf of the Legislature, Grand Bassa County District#5 Representative Thomas Gosuah, described the issues outlined by the women as important and vowed to take it to plenary for discussion and action.
By Bridgett Milton–Editing by Jonathan Browne