• It’s Elderly Filipinos Week

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    IN the indigenous culture of our archipelago’s pre-Western Malays who became the Filipinos and in their later culture as the Christian Malays, the virtue of respect and care for elders has always been a mark of every person’s — and family’s — good character. This is still generally true among Filipinos today.

    Sadly, various influences have caused the general character of Filipinos to deteriorate, causing us to have among the world’s most corrupt societies, with immoral government officials, members of parliament, politicians and even private sector businessmen who use politics to increase their wealth by violating laws and even the Constitution.

    This deterioration has also happened in families. And the virtue of respect for elders and love and care for the elderly has gone down.

    That is why we like the annual observance of “Elderly Filipino Week” — if only because schools and some government offices are forced by law to remember the virtue of respect for the elderly during the week of October 1 to 7 every year.

    Proclamation No. 470 issued on September 26, 1994 created this annual event to increase public awareness of the different issues concerning the population’s older people.

    The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) as chair of the National Steering Committee, with partner agencies and senior citizens’ associations, leads the celebration, which this year is on the theme “Igalang ang Nakatatanda at ang Kanilang mga Karapatan.” (Respect the Elderly and their Rights.)

    This year’s activities include a Walk for Life; Forum for Retirees, Talakayan on Social Insurance, “Dalaw Kalinga;” Visit to Visitorless, Indigent, Sick, Older Prisoners (VISO) and disaster preparedness meetings for seniors.

    The elderly sector comprises 6.8 percent of the Philippine population. The State has a responsibility to protect its members.

    Republic Act 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, provides more benefits and privileges to older persons. They are entitled to 20 percent discount on the purchase of certain goods and services, and special 5 percent discount on prime commodities and basic necessities, and 5 percent utility discount on electric and water consumption.

    Likewise, eligible indigent senior citizens are also entitled to a social pension amounting to P500 monthly, which the DSWD implements.

    This year Congress approved DSWD’s proposal to lower the age of qualification to 65. The funding has been included in the General Appropriations Act of 2015, which allocates P5.962 billion to benefit some 939, 609 indigent senior citizens aged 65 and above everywhere in our archipelago, including the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

    The 2015 budget for the program is P2.853 billion higher than last year’s allocation of P3.108 billion. The pension is distributed every quarter in cash payments made by DSWD city and town field offices.

    DSWD is also carrying out many other programs for the elderly, which we hope it is doing without any instances of graft–like the conditional cash transfer program.

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    4 Comments

    1. wish ko lang na sana sa mga municipalidad natin ay wala ng “quota” ng bilang ng mga recipient ng “pension” once na ang isang ‘senior citizen’ ay qualified naman na tumanggap nito at wala na rin sanang idinaragdag na policy dun sa establish na IRR ng DSWD ang mga kinauukulan sa lokal senior office, na kapag my anak sa ‘abroad’ ay di na kasama sa monthly/quarterly pension…just airing my concern…

    2. Vic Penetrante on

      Our theme song, if anyone would care to listen:
      “Yesterday when I was young,
      The taste of life was sweet as rain upon my tongue,
      I teased at life as if it were a foolish game,
      The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame;
      The thousand dreams I dreamed,
      The splendid things I planned
      I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand;
      I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day
      And only now I see how the years ran away.

      Yesterday when I was young,
      So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
      So many wayward pleasures lay in store for me
      And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see,
      I ran so fast that time and youth ran out,
      I never stopped to think what life was all about
      And every conversation I can now recall concerned itself
      With me and nothing else at all.

      Yesterday the moon was blue
      And every crazy day brought something new to do,
      I used my magic age as if it were a wand
      And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond;
      The game of love I played with arrogance and pride
      And every flame I lit too quickly, quickly died;
      The friends I made all seemed somehow to drift away
      And only I am on stage to end the play.
      There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung,
      I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue,
      The time has come for me to pay for
      Yesterday when I was young.
      (written by Herbert Kutzmer, Charles Agnavour)

    3. cesar g. villegas on

      Congress should create a committee to study how elders could be provided insurance. The public and insurance companies should come together put their mind to it and draft a law that will provide this kind of service to the elderly. This is doable. Bless our Congress

    4. how about providing free healthcare to seniors. In the Philippines no health insurance will insure 60 to 70 yr old seniors and that’s discrimination. In the US and many western countries that’s against the law and seniors are given many perks and services like shuttle rides to doctors, free healthcare including medicines, discounted housing and apartments. etc. and we call ourselves Christians and the only Christians in ASEAN. leaving our seniors fend to themselves is not a Christian way folks.