Senate okays pro-poor, elderly bills

TWO proposed bills centered on improving the life of poor people and the elderly were approved by the Senate on third and final reading.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 2121 or the “Magna Carta of the Poor” and Senate Bill (SB) No. 2159 or the “National Commission for Senior Citizens Act” authored by detained Senator Leila de Lima hurdled the final reading and now have the chance to become a law.

De Lima, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development  expressed elation over the progress of her two proposals that “seek to champion the cause of the vulnerable members of the society, notably the poor and the senior citizens.”

As the designated vice chairman of the committee, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV presided over deliberations of the bills on behalf of De Lima who was not allowed by the Philippine National Police to conduct public hearings inside her detention cell.

The Magna Carta of the Poor, which De Lima authored, seeks to grant the poor ready access to government services and encourage private sector’s investments in pro-poor program.

The measure mandates the government to provide the requirements, conditions and opportunities for the full employment of the rights of the poor to food, housing, education, decent work, and highest standard of mental and physical health.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Senior Citizens Act, which De Lima co-authored along with Senators Trillanes, Bam Aquino, Sonny Angara, and Senate President Vicente Sotto III, aims to formulate policies that would ensure the protection of the well-being of senior citizens.

Under the measure, a National Commission of Senior Citizens will be created not only to ensure strict implementation of laws for the elderly but also to task the Department of Social Welfare and Development to create policies and oversight programs for them.