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25 years of empowering older people in the Philippines

02 Dec 2014

Last weekend, we at the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), HelpAge's longstanding Affiliate in the Philippines, celebrated our silver anniversary.

In the 25 years we have existed, there have been significant improvements made to the lives of many older people in the Philippines, which I am proud that COSE can claim its part in.

Improvements in healthcare and pensions

For instance, we have created hundreds of community based groups of older people, which have become alternative mechanisms through which older people can amplify their voice.

Thousands of older people have received monthly social pensions and healthcare assistance and recently our President signed into law that all people who reach 60 will automatically become members of PhiliHealth (health insurance).

We have also ensured millions of older people enjoy discounts to services, food and recreation facilities. Thousands of older people have also been involved in emergency responses and disaster preparedness, for example after Typhoon Haiyan last year.

Celebrating older people's contributions

Our celebrations this weekend were about recognising the people, groups, organisations and particularly older people who have made contributions to this work. We awarded ten outstanding older people for their services to their communities, as well as five individuals who have introduced unique programmes for older people, including Mr Cho from HelpAge Korea who introduced the Home Care programme.

We also awarded five cities and municipalities for being age-friendly and within the same category, an award was given to five private and media institutions.

COSE has become a strong civil society organisation over the years. We have created a reputation as one of the most innovative organisations using technology in the field of ageing.

We have also become an institution that keeps learning. There have been many challenges - ups and downs - but we remained faithful to our mission: To promote and develop community-based programmes to empower older people.

HelpAge laid the first stone

In 1989, it was HelpAge International, represented by Graeme Jackson, that laid the first stone of COSE by facilitating a consultation on ageing in the Phillipines. The consultation was led by Edward Gerlock, our longest COSE staff member, who is now on our board of directors.

Let me take this opportunity to thank HelpAge International. Your confidence has motivated us a lot throughout the years.

Finally, I would like to express a special message of thanks to the HelpAge East Asia and Pacific Regional office for the unconditional support we have received; for mentoring us patiently, understanding our weakness and boosting our strengths.

Read more about our work with older people in the Philippines.

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Author profile

Fransis Kupang
Country: Philippines
Job title: Executive Director, COSE

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.