The country will pay tribute to the older persons’ sector during the celebration of the Elderly Filipino Week on October 1-7 to be led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in partnership with other government agencies, local government units (LGU), and non-government organizations (NGO).

This year’s theme is  “Ang Nakatatanda ay Yaman, Katuwang sa Pag-unlad ng Bayan, Pangalagaan Kanilang Kapakanan”.

Presidential Proclamation No. 470 mandates the annual celebration of Elderly Filipino Week or Linggo ng Nakatatandang Filipino every first week of October to emphasize the important role that older persons play in nation building, as well as raise and address issues concerning the older persons’ sector.

To mark the week-long event, the National Steering Committee chaired by DSWD will conduct activities starting with the ‘Walk for Life’ on October 1 (Wednesday). Other activities include “Dalaw Kalinga” on October 4; Visit to Visitorless, Indigent, Sick, Older Prisoners in National Bilibid Prisons and Correctional Institute for Women on October 5; Forum on Social Protection for Senior Citizens on October 7; Forum on Social Pension on October 8; Forum on Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction on October 11; and Painting Exhibit at SM Megatrade, Mandaluyong City on October 1-7.

More than 2,000 participants from the different senior citizens’ organizations, other government agencies, and NGOs will join the ‘Walk for Life” at the SM Mall of Asia, Pasay City starting at 5:30am.

Walk for Life is held annually by the Department of Health to enhance awareness of the public on the health concerns and well-being of older persons.

Social protection for seniors

The elderly sector comprises 6.8 % of the Philippine population.  It is an integral part of Philippine society and the State has a responsibility to protect its members.

Republic Act (RA) 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, provides more benefits and privileges to older persons. They are entitled to 20% discount on the purchase of certain goods and services, special 5% discount on prime commodities and basic necessities, and 5% utility discount on electric and water consumption.

Likewise, eligible indigent senior citizens are entitled to a social pension amounting to P500 monthly.  The government’s social pension program for indigent senior citizens is being implemented by the DSWD.

DSWD also manages four residential care services located in Quezon City, Rizal, Davao City and Zamboanga City.  These residential homes take care of older persons who are abandoned and neglected by their families.

Moreover, there are group homes for older persons that provide community-based alternative living arrangement, and senior citizens centers which provide recreational, educational, health and social programs designed for the full enjoyment and benefit of senior citizens.   ###