Hontiveros To Fight For Senior Citizens & Universal Social Pension In 18th Congress

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, who served as the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Demography in the 17th Congress, refiled Senate Bill No. 160, or the “Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola Act,” before the official start of the 18th Congress. The bill pushes for universal social pension for senior citizens, to help alleviate economic stress among elderly Filipinos and their families.

“Suklian natin ng kalinga ang mahalagang ambag sa ating lipunan ng ating mga senior citizens,” Hontiveros said.

“Income security through universal social pension for senior citizens ensures that our elderly are taken care of at the most basic level. A sense of financial security safeguards their access to proper food and medical care,” she stressed.

Under Hontiveros’s bill, the government will create a social pension system which provides assistance to all senior citizens aged 65 years and older. Senior citizens who are aged 60 to 64 and are classified as indigent will also receive assistance. The bill likewise expands the monthly stipend received by senior citizens from P500 to P1,000 “to help them better cope with daily expenses and medical needs.”

Hontiveros stressed that protection of senior citizens becomes more urgent as their numbers are increasing rapidly. Data from the National Statistics Office shows projected that a total of 11.5% of the Philippine population will be composed of senior citizens by 2030.

According to the Commission on Population (POPCOM), 8% or approximately 8 million people of the Philippine population is composed of elderly as of 2018. As the percentage increases, Moody’s Investors Services says that the Philippines will reap the benefits of a young population only until 2030. In countries such as Japan and Germany where majority of the population is ageing, huge pressure is put on the workforce to make ends meet for families with elderly relative.

“By providing income security in the form of universal pension for senior citizens, we not only assist them with their basic needs such as food and health, and help prop-up low income families, it also becomes a tool to share the proceeds of growth across all of society,” Hontiveros explained.

“This bill promises a secure life for our people in a future when they are less able to actively participate in society. It is not just a thank you, it is also their right and our responsibility, that we take care of our lolas and lolos of today and tomorrow,” Hontiveros concluded.

Photo Credit: facebook.com/hontiverosrisa