‘Only 2.9 million elderly receive pension’
MANILA, Philippines — Only 2.9 million of the total 8.7 million senior Filipino citizens are covered by the government financing institution’s pension system, either with the state-owned Government Service Insurance System or the Social Security System for private employees.
Ang Probinsiyano party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong said these were the figures his fellow party-list members gathered from the government agencies that provide pension to employees who are due for retirement, since this has been the advocacy of their group.
Ong has filed House Bill (HB) 5362 titled “Senior Citizens Employment Opportunity Act” that seeks to institutionalize a special work-for-pay program for the elderly.
The lawmaker’s organization also forged a partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), which aims to tap the latter’s Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Disadvantaged/Displaced workers program to provide employment for senior citizens.
It was launched early this month at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), which has entered into a memorandum of agreement with the DOLE for the pilot implementation of the special employment program for senior citizens.
Ong said senior citizens who will be hired to work at the PUP will perform tasks that are important but not physically strenuous at least three hours in the morning and another three hours in the afternoon.
He said retired or elderly individuals should not just be left to fend for themselves or depend entirely on their monthly pension.
“If they can do it in highly developed countries, why can’t we? It’s about time we help ensure automatic employment allocation for Filipinos aged 60 and above,” the neophyte lawmaker said.
“They have discounts on food, medicine, transportation and even entertainment, but what’s the use of all these perks if our senior citizens do not have the money to spend? I really think that the government should open more economic opportunities for our senior citizens and let them enjoy life even in their twilight years,” Ong said.
The measure seeks to amend Section 5 of Republic Act 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010) to ensure that senior citizens whose annual income is below the poverty threshold as determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority are given priority employment through job matches provided by the DOLE and the National Commission on Senior Citizens (NCSC).