Elderly Filipinos should not be honored only for a Week-A A +A
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
By Nerissa Villanueva
LAST Monday (7 October 2013) was the last day for the celebration of the Elderly Filipino Week or Linggo ng Nakatatandang Filipino. In virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 470, this annual celebration is done every first week of October to emphasize the important role that older persons play in nation building. This also gives opportunity to the older person’s sector to raise and address their issues and concerns.
This year’s theme was "Nakatatanda: Pagtulungang Isulong, Benepisyo’t Karapatan Tungo sa Maginhawa at Masayang Pamayanan." The theme continuously calls for the advocacy and protection of the rights and welfare of older persons in our society.
In the Cordillera Administrative Region, around 22,076 senior citizens or elderly have been recorded by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD). Through the Department’s Listahanan: Talaan ng Pamilyang Nangangailangan (formerly known as the National Household Targeting System for Poverty Reduction or NHTS-PR), the DSWD is able to identify who among these senior citizens are eligible for social protection programs such as the Social Pension Program. At this point, there are around 9,661 are already receiving their stipends from the Social Pension Program. Indigent senior citizens receive P500 a month or P1,500 per quarter under the Program. Due to limited amount, not all indigent elderly will receive the stipend, indigent senior citizens who are 77 years old and above are prioritized to receive the assistance. This amount is definitely not large enough to sustain the everyday needs of an individual, but for the beneficiaries who often use the amount to buy coffee, sugar, and some of their medicines; this amount is enough for them to be thankful.
However, some of our elderly fail to use their grants not because of their incapacity but because of some individuals who take advantage of their weakness. Much worse is that these people are those whom our elderly have trusted and took care of when they were still strong and capable. These are the people who should be taking care of our elderly.
I would like to appeal to the people who might have forgotten the purpose of the grant. The time has passed when they have the strength to work for the sustenance of their needs. Their bodies are now weaker as compared to when they are still working to provide for your food, shelter, clothing, education, other needs and wants. This is the time that we can give back to them. Come to think of it, it is not just our duty to take care of and provide for our elderly not just because what we are now is because of what they’ve done for us. We should love and take care of them because we are family.
And we should not only recognize them not just for a week or two because they are entitled for our love, respect, and recognition every day. We should always be honoring them because someday, we will become a part of the older persons’ sector too and we would want to be treated the way that they want to.