Angara pushes for creation of institute for aging

MANILA, October 8, 2011-Senator Edgardo J. Angara has filed a new measure to advance the welfare of the country’s older population in line with the celebration of Elderly Filipino Week and the Senior Citizens Month this October.

Angara, author of the Senior Citizens Act of 1991, is proposing the creation of a Philippine Institute for Aging to ensure that the country is prepared to meet the challenges of an aging demography through Senate Bill No. 2982 filed last week.

As lifespans grow considerably longer with the advent of modern medicine, the number of elderly supported through pension and social services also grows, putting a greater burden on the state and on the working population.

Even though the Philippines remains one of the countries in the world with relatively young population—with an average age of about 26 years old—the number of elderly rises significantly year by year, with 2010’s 6.4 million expected to balloon to 19.6 million in 30 years.

“Population aging is not yet a major concern in the Philippines now, but it will be in the future,” said the veteran lawmaker. “It is never too early to prepare for that inevitable future.”

The institution will generate science and research-based solutions to guide policymaking on the gamut of social, legal, economic and physiological issues surrounding aging. It will operate under the country’s best science and medical practitioners in the University of the Philippines-Manila and will be attached to the National Institutes of Health.

“We want senior citizens to remain productive members of society,” said Angara. “In fact, nowadays, we find so many of the elderly remaining active. There is a shift in lifestyle. We have to harness the powers of science and technology to make the most of these changes, and also put in place a framework that will facilitate them—infrastructure, transportation, health facilities.

“Aging should not become a burden to our country or our people. It should not be viewed as a detriment to the enjoyment of life or the welfare of society,” said Angara. “Science and technology have found means to make life longer; they can also find ways to make a longer life more satisfactory.” (Rikka Sotto) 

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