ADA Philippines: Pensions must reach the poorest older people
“Madame Dinky get down from your throne and look at the conditions of poor older people,” says the banner carried by members of COSE, the Coalition of the Services for the Elderly in the Philippines. Madame Dinky is the Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare.
Focus on social pension
Hundreds of older men and women from COSE and other organisations marched through central Manila as part of this years Age Demands Action campaign.
They participated in the government rally for 1 October, International Day of Older People, and then held their own press conference with government officials to focus attention on the poor implementation of the social pension.
Mrs. Ever Paquiz, President of Elderly People of Melabon City, explains that in 2010 the government agreed to give a pension of 500 peso (US$ 11) a month to everyone over 77.
But research by COSE members shows that few older people have received the pension and the government is not targeting the poorest for the benefit.
Older people forced to beg for food
“Our survey of over 3,000 older people in Manila shows that many older people are forced to eat garbage or beg for food,” said Ed Gerlock of COSE. He continued, “the current system of allocating the pension is not working.”
At the press conference, COSE members urged the congressman to follow the example of one municipal area which works with older people’s associations to identify the poorest and ensure they receive the pension. They argued, “if it is possible in one province it is possible everywhere”.
The congressman, Godofredo Arquiza, agreed to consider the idea.