IN JUST a month since its launch, the online petition banning age requirements for job opportunities is already almost halfway with its goal of gathering 10,000 supporters.

Blas F. Ople Policy Center president Susan Ople said they have already gathered a total of 4,627 signatures in their petition at

"Kapag umabot ng 10,000 yan, bibigyan namin ng kopya ang mga chairs ng Senate at ng House committee on labor," said Ople in a forum in Manila.

Last May 1, the Ople Center launched an online petition seeking public support for the passage of such a law.

Ople said lawmakers should consider passing a law that will prohibit age discrimination in workplaces.

She said the law would force employers to hire older workers as long as they are physically able and meet the qualifications of the jobs they are applying for.

"Various groups are united in calling for the swift passage of a law to stop the discriminatory practice of imposing age requirements on job applicants, thus causing demoralization among Filipino workers, including OFWs (overseas Filipino workers)," said Ople.

She noted now there are already seven pending bills at the House of Representatives while Senator Pia Cayetano had already logged Senate Bill 29.

Ople said there are already more than 30 countries that have existing policies versus age discrimination in the workplace.

She said the absence of such a law has been contributory to the continued increase of the number of OFWs.

Ople said many workers in the country are being forced to find employment abroad since several local companies refuse to hire them due to their age.

"Base sa cases na mga nahahandle namin sa Ople Center, pag balik nila sa bansa, hirap sila makahanap ng trabaho. Iikot sila, maghahanap ng trabaho. Kapag wala silang makita, sa abroad na ulit sila magwo-work. Kahit nga yung iba may trauma pa dahil nakaranas ng abuses, umaalis pa din kasi kailangan buhayin ang pamilya e," noted Ople.

She lamented that the same scenario also applies to those who already want to return home from being OFWs but have reservations.

"Yung iba dun na tumatanda na sa abroad. If you ask them, 'yun ang fear nila na if they come home, maka-cut yung economic lifeline nila," said Ople. (HDT/Sunnex)