Filipino culture places strong emphasis on family values, as well as respect for one’s elders.
While the care of older people is primarily the responsibility of their children, the government also has taken steps to ensure that elderly Filipinos are properly cared for.
Presidential Proclamation No. 470, series of 1994 declares the First Week of October of every year as Elderly Filipino Week (Linggong Katandaang Pilipino) Celebration. This year’s Elderly Filipino Week theme is “Healthy and Productive Aging Starts with Me.”
In Republic Act No. 9994 (An Act Granting Additional Benefits And Privileges To Senior Citizens), a senior citizen or elderly is defined as a Philippine resident citizen who is at least sixty (60) years old.
The Philippines’ Senior Citizen Population
In the 2015 population census, 7.5% or 7.55 million of the total population were senior citizens.
The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) released this infographic, Facts on Senior Citizens, Results of the 2015 Census of Population, showing the steadily rising elderly population in the country.
From the PSA’s projections, the number of senior citizens aged 65 years and older may quadruple in size from 4 million in 2010-2015 to 16 million by 2040-2045.
Republic Act 9994 and LGUs’ Senior Citizen Benefits
How is our government taking care of our senior citizens? RA 9994, more commonly known as The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 lists the privileges granted to all senior citizens, foremost of which is the 20% senior citizen discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) on applicable goods and services for their exclusive use. An article by Moneymax lists discount and benefits given to our seniors.
Local government units or LGUs have their own programs providing benefits to their elderly residents. A Moneymax article noted the senior citizen benefits in each major city in the Philippines. Many have monthly allowances, cash gifts, free movies, and discounts on medicines and medical services. The Quezon City Government lists on its website the benefits granted to its elderly citizens.
Health-related Benefits of Senior Citizens
Republic Act 10645 grants all senior citizens automatic PhilHealth coverage in accredited healthcare facilities in the Philippines.
The Department of Health (DOH) outlines its Health And Wellness Program For Senior Citizens, aimed to “promote the health and wellness of senior citizens and improve their quality of life in partnership with other stakeholders and sectors.”
Taking Care of our Senior Citizens’ Health
The MSD Manual defines Geriatrics as “medical care for older adults.” Here in the Philippines, the St. Luke’s Medical Center has a Geriatric Center that delivers comprehensive healthcare for older adults. Other bigger health facilities have also established Geriatrics Centers.
We can see here that there are a lot of laws granting benefits to elderly Filipinos. We can only hope that these benefits reach those who are most in need.
With the Filipino youth influenced by global views, we see changing attitudes towards family. Again, we can only hope that our youth continue to value strong family ties, and along with it, taking care of the elderly.