Tolentino, Angara push for employment of senior citizens

TWO candidates of Hugpong ng Pagbabago are pushing for the  employment of  senior citizens especially those who are still productive.

Francis Tolentino and reelectionist Sen. Sonny Angara said there is a big number of elders who still can work and share their expertise despite their age.

Both are appealing to the local government units (LGUs) and the private sector to employ more members of the elderly population and make use of their skills and experience even for part-time or casual work.

The law states that retiring age is 60 for private and 56 in the government.

“May mga seniors na malalakas pa, kayang kaya pang magtrabaho. If given a chance magpapasa tayo ng batas na pwede pang bigyan ng trabaho ang mga seniors sa private o sa government man,” Tolentino said in one the sorties in Region 4.

At present, Section 5 of Republic Act  9257 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003 mandates the government to provide employment assistance to senior citizens, who have the capacity and desire to work or be re-employed, in the form of information and matching services.

Under the law, private entities that will employ senior citizens as employees are entitled to an additional deduction from their gross income, equivalent to 15 percent of the total amount paid as salaries and wages to senior citizens, subject to the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code.

Tolentino said seniors can still be allowed to work to be productive even in their old age and keep them away from poverty.

For his part, Angara, said many elderly people belonging to the age group 60 to 70 are still physically capable and are prepared to work and earn a living.

“Senior citizens who have the capacity and desire to work or be re-employed can have a shot at getting jobs again so they can live a life of dignity and empowerment. Dapat ka-partner natin ang gobyerno sa paghahanap ng trabaho para sa mga seniors sa pribado man o pampublikong sector,” Angara said.

Angara stressed that one of the major problems confronting the senior citizens is the lack of financial security since most of them have no more means to earn and largely depend on their meager savings or their children for sustenance.

Based on the 2018 estimates of the Commission on Population and Development, there are 8.7 million Filipinos over 60 years old, representing 8.2 percent of the country’s total population of 107 million.

The United Nations Population Fund projected in 2012 that by 2050, the population of senior citizens in the Philippines will grow by 15 percent to 23.63 million.

Data from the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) -- an umbrella organization of 450 groups caring for senior citizens which recently endorsed Angara’s reelection bid -- only 33 percent or 2.9 million of the elderly population are covered by the Social Security System, the Government Social Insurance System, and other pension systems.