Press Release
January 23, 2020

Win: Give home to abandoned, neglected elderly

Inspired by Valenzuela City's Bahay Kalinga, Sen. Win Gatchalian seeks to institutionalize the establishment of nursing homes for neglected and abandoned elderly in every city and municipality.

Gatchalian has filed Senate Bill No. 737, to be known as "Homes for the Abandoned Seniors Act of 2019," which seeks to establish a nursing home for homeless and abandoned senior citizens to be maintained by a local government unit.

A nursing home provides living accommodations, food and clothing, medical and health care, and recreational and social interaction activities for abandoned or homeless senior citizens.

The senator has been advocating for the establishment of a shelter for abandoned elders since he was in the House of Representatives representing the First District of Valenzuela during the 16th Congress..

In 2012, Valenzuela established a nursing home dubbed as "Bahay Kalinga" or House of Care. There are currently 25 homeless or abandoned senior citizens receiving housing and healthcare at Bahay Kalinga.

The home serves as a halfway house for the elderly as well as abandoned, neglected and unwanted children while the local government helps them in contacting their existing relatives, Gatchalian said.

Because of the low success rate of turning over the elderly to their relatives, plans are already underway to expand the facility that can accomodate more occupants in the future, he said.

The senator made this his personal advocacy, emphasizing that respect and care for the elderly has been one of the best traits of Filipinos.

"Unlike western societies, Filipinos choose to take care of their elders themselves in their homes as a sign of gratitude and respect," he said.

However, he noted that cases of abandonment and neglect of the elderly in the country are increasing because of the ageing population.

This can be attributed, according to Gatchalian, to various reasons such as the economic reality of spending for the care of an elderly person which may become unbearable for households that do not earn enough, family problems that may lead the elderly and their children to become estranged, and the incapability to care for the elderly because of a busy schedule or work related issues.

Gatchalian believed that the passage of this bill will decrease the growing number of unattended, neglected, abandoned and homeless senior citizens in the country as it will provide similar services provided by the Bahay Kalinga.

Sen. Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. has also filed a similar measure, Senate Bill No. 296, which seeks to establish an elderly care and nursing complex in every province and city.

"A facility like this in every city and province of the nation will lift the weight off the shoulders of poor families who cannot afford to provide and care for their beloved elderly but still desire to see their loved ones living a dignified quality of life in a State provided healthy environment," Revilla said.

Both measures are now pending with the Senate Committee Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development.

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