In observance of the United Nations’ International Day of Older Persons (Oct. 1), Senator Leila M. de Lima vowed to continue promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of the elderly to ensure that their concerns, such as health and employment opportunities, are properly heard and taken care of.
De Lima, the principal sponsor and co-author of the Senior Citizen Bill in the Senate that has been enacted into law this year, expressed her appreciation and gratitude to the elderly for raising decent Filipino families and providing guidance and wisdom in the society in her International Day of Older Persons message.
“Currently, our Filipino senior citizens are entitled to a 20-percent discount on goods and services, priority queuing and parking, and free movies in cinemas, among others. But more than these tokens, what they truly deserve is a roadmap to a comfortable and dignified life,” she said.
“Having just turned 60 this year, rest assured that I will never waver in protecting the rights of our countrymen, especially the marginalized sector, and in guiding the younger generations to bequeath to them a just, decent, and peaceful society,” she added.
The UN has marked October 1 as the International Day of Older Persons each year to recognize the needs and challenges faced by the elderly and at the same time honor their significant contributions in the society.
De Lima said she hopes her Senior Citizen Bill, now Republic Act (RA) No. 11350, which creates a national commission that would guarantee the promotion and protection of the rights and welfare of senior citizens, will be fully and properly implemented.
“It is with this spirit of thanking and honoring our elders that I pushed, as principal sponsor and co-author, for the National Senior Citizen Commission Bill in the Senate that has already been enacted into law.
Signed last July 25, RA No. 11350 creates the National Commission of Senior Citizens composed of bona fide members of senior citizen associations representing different geographical regions, dedicated solely in handling the concerns and promoting the rights and welfare of our senior citizens.
Amid the challenges that the senior citizens continue to face in the country, the lady Senator from Bicol urged the government and the Filipino public to continue working together to empower the elderly and give them a decent and happy life.
“Let us not fall short on giving back to our elders the care and protection they deserve for their sacrifices that have paved the way for us to live a better life,” she said.
“Let us continue working together in guaranteeing that our elders have free and expanded medical services, decent shelter and livelihood, improved mobility and accessibility, and a government and society that is truly responsive to their needs and concerns,” she added.
By empowering the elderly, especially in the Philippines, De Lima noted that the important lessons from the past will not be forgotten, while the traditions of good values and principles will always be upheld.
Last August, De Lima expressed support for Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso’s move to encourage employers, especially fastfood chains in Manila, to hire senior citizens and persons with disabilities even as she urged other local government units to follow suit.