Giving respect and assistance to the senior citizens are hallmarks of our culture and identity as a nation. This is the reason why Bohol First District Representative Rene L. Relampagos is pushing for the creation of a National Senior Citizens Commission in his last and final term as congressman.
One of the problems facing senior citizens today is not the lack of policies to promote and protect their interests but the implementation of the laws in various localities in the country.
To date, laws such as Republic Acts 7432, 9257, 9994 are set in place to ensure that our senior citizens get the care and support they deserve. On the implementation side, the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA), under the jurisdiction of the various local government units in the country, generally caters to the needs of the elderly.
Aside from the local OSCAs, various government agencies hold joint responsibilities in the implementation of the different laws including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Health (DOH), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), National Coordinating and Monitoring Board (NCMB), Social Security System (SSS), among others. This does not include yet the accredited peoples organizations and non-governmental institutions working with senior citizens.
If passed, the proposed National Senior Citizens Commission will be responsible for the effective implementation and monitoring of the objectives of various laws that seek to promote and protect the right of all senior citizens in the country. The said Commission will act as a specialized agency to supervise the functions of the OSCA and to strengthen implementation of the various laws on senior citizens.
“We seek uniformity and cohesiveness under this bill,” Rep. Relampagos said. “To address the issue of senior citizens whose rights are protected in certain jurisdictions but not in some, we need to have a single national body to ensure that the rights and interests of all our senior citizens are promoted and protected anywhere in the Philippines.” To date, there are around 10 million senior citizens in the country.
“While Filipinos have strong family values, it is the State’s duty to ensure that all its citizens are cared for – even at old age. All roads will lead us to old age anyway. That is a fact. It is not a matter of ‘if’ but a matter of ‘when’”, the lawmaker concluded.