Press Release
September 26, 2012


Senator Edgardo J. Angara called on his colleagues to pass a measure (SBN 2982) seeking to create the Philippine Institute for Aging, a research institute focused on giving Filipinos longer and better lives, as he expressed concern over the country's old-age pension and healthcare system.

Angara cited a report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that pension systems in many parts of developing Asia including the Philippines are unprepared and underfunded to meet the needs of the region's rapidly aging population.

"Today, people worldwide are living increasingly longer than any time in history. While the number of Filipino elderly swells, our social safety nets - pensions, social security benefits, medical facilities and workforce, primary health care - weakens. Many Western countries are now facing these challenges and we must be prepared to meet them," he said.

The veteran legislator added, "The Institute we are proposing seeks to generate science and research-based solutions to guide policymaking on social, legal, economic and physiological issues surrounding aging in the country. 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 Institute of Health."

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people aged 60 years and above is expected to increase from 605 million to 2 billion in 2050. Over the next five years, it is projected that the population of people 65 and older will outnumber children under the age of five in the Western Pacific Region and by 2050, older adults will outnumber children under 14.

Angara, author of the Senior Citizens Act, noted that as life spans grow considerably longer with advances in medicine, the number of elderly supported through pension and social services also grows, putting a greater burden on the government and the workforce.

The WHO-Western Pacific Region (WHO-WPR), on the other hand, warned the Philippines that our healthcare system should be ready to face the challenges that come with the rapidly increasing elderly population.

The proportion of the population of Filipinos older than 65 is growing faster than ever. As of 2010, the Philippines' senior citizens totaled 6.4 million, accounting for 6.8 percent of our entire population of 94 million. Projections based on our national census show that by 2020, Filipinos ages 60 and older would number 9.7 million or 8.7 percent of our population. By 2040, our elderly will total 19.6 million, making up 13.8 percent of the population, or a 208 percent growth from the present.

Angara concluded, "The elderly should not be considered an economic burden, rather an integral part of our society who have great potential to contribute when provided with the right infrastructure, policies and opportunities. The aging of our population is a given, but this only underscores how much we need to participate in the global research on the topic as soon as we can. I urge my colleagues in the Senate for the swift passage of this measure."

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