The United Senior Citizens partylist, number 11 in the ballot, vowed yesterday to implement provisions of the constitutions that will promote economic welfare of the older people.
In a statement released by the group, it emphasized that our constitution has enough provisions that can ensure welfare and wellbeing of the senior citizens.
“If we are to review our constitution, we will discover that it has enough power to ensure the welfare of our senior citizens, we just need to implement them properly,” explained USC 2nd nominee Roleo Ignacio.
He cited the 1986 Constitution, Article II, Section 9, stating that “The state shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.”
One of the issues is the senior citizens are dealing with is poverty, an obstacle to a secured old age. Though seniors receive mandatory pensions from government, there is a pressing need to improve on this.
As such, the current pension system in the Philippines requires careful consideration and evaluation. The government offers welfare services such as homes for the aged and Senior Citizens Centers to better address the plight of the Filipino elderly. However, the effectiveness of such welfare services can only be confirmed by the level of satisfaction of their intended beneficiaries.
Poverty is the greatest obstacle to a secured old age. The United Nations Development Program has estimated that only 20 percent of people aged 60 or over in the world has any form of income security. Worldwide, only 30% of total elderly population are qualified for any form of pension and most of them live in more developed countries. Thus, older people continue to work for as long as they are physically able.
Here in the Philippines, older Filipinos enjoy a significant amount of care and support from their family support that includes financial support but most of them would opt to work if they have the chance to not be a burden to the family.
The monetary benefit they receive from the government may not be hefty considering their daily needs, which include food and medicines but can hardly ease them off their burdens.
Ignacio said the current pandemic situation poses a danger especially for older people who still work in the informal sector as they face significant risks of developing severe symptoms and being harmed by Covid-19.
“We can’t blame them for wanting to work, they have to provide for their families, and the thought of them braving deprivation, sickness, dangers and even embarrassment break our heart. That is why we will do anything in our capacity to help and empower our beloved senior citizens,” he added.
The plight of the seniors in society has been highlighted during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. United Senior Citzens earlier said many seniors have to live in isolation to make sure their loved ones are safe.
“They have no choice but since they love their families, they needed to make those sacrifices. Now its our turn to show them love and care,” Ignacio pointed out.
The group also cited Article 13, Section 11 also, which states that “The state shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and social services available to all people at affordable cost. There shall . There shall be priority for the needs of the unprivileged, be priority for the needs of the unprivileged, sick, elderly, elderly disabled, women, and children.”
“There may be various interpretations to these provisions, but one thing is sure for the betterment of the lives of our seniors, and our organization will not stop until every single senior citizen in the country is accorded his rights and privilieges regardless of their status, religion, beliefs and orientations,” he added.