Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the five-year Philippine Action Plan for Senior Citizens

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights welcoming the five-year Philippine Action Plan for Senior Citizens

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) welcomes the launch of a five-year Philippine Plan of Action for Senior Citizens (PPASC 2023-2028). This program strengthens our commitment to advocate for the rights of the elderly in the country.

The National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) launched the PPASC 2023-2028 on 02 October 2023. The action plan aims to create an inclusive and age-friendly society that protects senior citizens’ rights and privileges, as well as their health and well-being, across the country. The PPASC seeks to translate into actions and programs the vision of NSC to enable “happy, healthy, empowered, and productive senior citizens while living in a safe environment free of abuse and exploitation, with their rights protected, poverty-free, and the ability to contribute to the development of their communities.” [1]

It is underscored in the Constitution that the needs of the elderly and other vulnerable sectors shall be the priority of the State. Further, Article XV, Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution declares that “the family has the duty to care for its elderly members, but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.” As such, CHR recognizes the development of PPASC as it provides a structured and proactive approach to addressing the elderly population’s unique needs and challenges.

The Commission is hopeful that this plan will not only improve the quality of life of senior citizens, but will also ensure their well-being and active participation in society. It serves as a road map for healthcare, social engagement, financial security, and overall holistic care, promoting healthy aging and contributing to a more inclusive and compassionate community.

We equally hope that the PPASC 2023-2028 will help address the persisting issues faced by older generations, which become even more prominent during challenging economic times, such as the present circumstance. The issues that beset them primarily pertain to economic, social and cultural rights, such as inadequate social protection; lack of access to health services; absence of employment opportunities; and poor standard of living.

In line with our mandate to uphold the rights of all people, particularly the vulnerable ones, the Commission convened a cross-regional workshop discussing the Human Rights of Older Persons in the Asia-Pacific Region last 29-30 August 2023. The goal of this workshop is to recognize the critical importance of an international convention in raising a stronger and more united voice for older people by enacting policies and social structures that provide healthcare, social security, participation in decision-making, and employment opportunities. [2]

We also cite the particular importance given by President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to the elderly sector in his directive to the National Government Agencies, Local Government Units, and other governmental bodies to support activities for the celebration of Linggo ng Katandaang Filipino (Elderly Filipino Week) from 1-7 October 2023. Such leadership stance is vital in catalyzing our collective commitment to advocating for the rights of the older persons in the country.

The Commission believes that it is essential to adapt policies, programs, and social structures to address the specific needs of the elderly population. It also plays a crucial role in preventing abuse, neglect, and discrimination towards older persons. Together, let us foster a society that is inclusive and provides long term solutions for the needs of older Filipinos.

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[1] 5-year action plan for senior citizens launched: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1210964

[2] Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines hosts two-day Asia-Pacific workshop on the human rights of older persons: https://chr.gov.ph/commission-on-human-rights-of-the-philippines-hosts-two-day-asia-pacific-workshop-on-the-human-rights-of-older-persons/