Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 2819 or the “Parents Welfare Act of 2019” requiring children to support their sick and incapacitated old parents.
The need to support those who can’t fend themselves anymore
Filipinos are known for close-knit family ties, yet many elderly, sick and incapacitated parents are abandoned by their children. “The sight of (the) abandoned elderly in our streets is now common. Children fail to provide the necessary support to their aging, sick and incapacitated parents. This happens despite our moral and natural obligation to maintain our parents who are in need of support,” Lacson said.
Failure to support the elderly parents for 3 consecutive months without a valid reason will result in 1 to 6 months imprisonment or a fine of Php100,000.
In addition, “whoever, having the care or protection of a parent in need of support, leaves such parent in any place with the intention of wholly abandoning the latter shall be punished with imprisonment of 6 years to 10 years and a fine of not less than P300,000.”
The bill also mandates the establishment of at least one “Old Age Home” in every province and highly urbanized city that can accommodate at least 50 elderly parents.
The benefits enjoyed by the senior citizens right now may not be enough
Senior citizens across the country are provided with some benefits through the following legislation:
- RA 7432, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003 .
- RA 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, an amendment to RA 7432 to include additional privileges.
- RA 10645, an amendment to RA 9994 to provide mandatory PhilHealth coverage for all senior citizens.
Each senior citizen (60 years old and above) is now given a 20% discount on transportation, hotels, restaurants, recreational facilities, funeral, and medical-related services. Another 5% discount is also granted on a senior citizen’s monthly electricity and water charges as long as the meter is registered under his or her name and does not exceed 100 kWh (electricity) and 30 m³(water).
Considering the rising prices of commodities, the present benefits and privileges cannot cover the expenses incurred by the elderly.
A shared responsibility between the government and the family
The government understands that older adults are considered one of the most vulnerable groups in the population. For this reason, programs are being implemented like monthly cash grants and other types of assistance to help elderly Filipinos. However, the government can only do so much at this time.
Lacson believes that taking care of the old members of the community is a shared responsibility between the government and the family of the elderly.