Statement of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines at the 13th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (04 April 2023)

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines at the 13th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (04 April 2023)

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines at the 13th session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing, agenda item 6 (Follow-up to resolution 77/190: Follow-up of the focus areas of the twelfth session – Discussion on normative inputs)

Delivered in person by Commissioner Beda A. Epres
4 April 2023, United Nations Headquarters, New York

***

Excellencies,

The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines acknowledges the distinguished Chair and panelists for their expertise in relation to the discussion on economic security and contributions to sustainable development of older persons. 

In our consultations with older persons in the Philippines and older migrant Filipino workers, they have stated that older persons’ rights to ensure economic security are generally the same as when they were younger adults.[1] To be able to sustain themselves, especially in accessing health-related goods and services, they emphasized the need to have regular income, which ideally should be covered by old age pension and their right to work in old age.[2] However, due to the inadequate contributory pension amounts, inadequacy and inaccessibility of social pension, and difficulty in re-entering the local workforce particularly for older migrant workers, ensuring access to dignified income-generating opportunities that are specifically designed and targeted for them is very crucial, which also helps in their personal development and allow them to contribute to societal development.[3] Essential new technologies should be accessible and user-friendly to older persons.[4] To access capital so that older persons can start micro-enterprises, the government should implement loan programs with low interest rates and assistance in preparing the necessary documentary requirements.[5]

While the Philippines has enabling laws dedicated to the rights of older persons, there are normative, implementation, information and monitoring gaps.  There is a need to come up with strategic responses, including allocating a dedicated budget for older persons’ programs and services within national government agency and local government budgets, disaggregation of data on older persons, and recognizing in law, policy and practice an intersectional and life course approach in the promotion and protection of the rights of older persons.

Despite persistently facing ageism and experiencing age discrimination in the different aspects of their lives, older Filipinos, like many older persons around the world,  have proven that they are capable, able, and willing to contribute to sustainable economic and social development for the present and future generations of older people. The Philippines has a strong and active civil society that readily assists in the implementation of policies and programs. However, there is a need to have stronger advocacy with local and cross-regional networks and mechanisms, particularly in calling for an international convention on the human rights of older persons.

The international community is now up to task in identifying and implementing international minimum standards to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of older persons. This can be done through an inclusive process of adopting a legally binding instrument. Nothing about older persons without older persons.

Maraming salamat po.


[1] Responses by participants during the “Consultation with Civil Society for the 13th Session of the United Nations Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing,” through Zoom (Feb. 7, 2023).

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

[5] Id.