Press Release
February 7, 2006


Senator Manny Villar, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance, says that given the fact that older or mature people are less likely to get employed and most likely to lose their jobs nowadays, the country should put in an effective mechanism that would make them employable.

Villar filed Senate Bill 645 or the Mature and Older Workers Act that seeks to establish programs to prepare mature or older workers for participation in the labor force by increasing their occupational and educational skills resulting in improved long-term employability as well as better employment and higher earnings.

I believe that given proper and continuous training and assistance, old people can still be productive members of any industry. We Filipinos are known for being hard-working and even senior citizens are still raring to work or continue working, says Villar.

Villar adds, There are millions of them who still want to be productive and many of them still provide for their families by taking odd jobs even back-breaking ones. One good example is in the findings that most of those who braved it out and died in the Ultra stampede were old people, most of whom are women, says Villar.

Based on the data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), the total number of senior citizens (60 years old and over) based on the 2000 Census of Population and Housing was 4.6 million or 5.97% of the countrys population and 22.18% increase from 1995s level of 3.7 million.

In terms of the average annual population growth rate, NSO cites, the elderly population grew at 4.39% during the 1995 to 2000 period, higher than the 1990 to 1995 growth rate of 3.06%. If this growth rate continues, the number of senior citizens is expected to reach seven million in 2010 and to double in approximately 16 years.

Older people can remain competitive in their respective jobs or careers. While the trend now is to hire younger people who are deemed more aggressive and productive, there are still many companies and organizations which recognize what older people can contribute to their business or operation, cites Villar.

Under Villars bill, employment and educational training will be offered to individuals who are 40 years old and above and fall under the following categories: with income not in excess of the poverty line; eligible for housing assistance; who are unemployed for a considerable period of time; underemployed; homeless; displace homemakers; undergraduates; deficient in basic skills; displaced from work; and who live alone.

Villar adds, Old people deserve to have their self-respect or dignity in tact and we all know that there is dignity in hard work, so let us not limit their employment opportunities. Let us let them work if they are still willing and able to work.

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