Recognizing the fact that millions of senior citizens still live in poverty despite the various discounts and other perks given to them by law, a party-list legislator has launched a special job program for them.
Party-list Rep. Ronnie Ong of Ang Probinsyano said the program aims to provide senior citizens new economic opportunities.
"They have discounts on food, medicine, transportation and even entertainment but what's the use of all these perks if our senior citizens do not have the money to spend? I really think that the government should open more economic opportunities for senior citizens and let them enjoy productive life even in their twilight years," Ong said.
Early this week, Ong forged a partnership with the Department of Labor and Employment to tap its Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers program to provide employment for senior citizens in various government offices including public schools and state universities.
Ong said this partnership will be initially launched at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines which has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with DOLE under Secretary Silvestre Bello III and Ong for the pilot implementation of the special employment program for senior citizens.
Ong said that senior citizens who will be hired to work at the PUP will do tasks that are important but not physically strenuous at least three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Employment will be given priority to senior citizens who live around the various PUP campuses and their salaries will be drawn from DOLE's TUPAD allocation.
The salaries of the senior citizen workers under this program shall be based on the minimum salary in each region. In the National Capital Region, for example, they would get P537 per day.
Ong said another MOA will be signed with University of the Philippines and he hopes that this program will be replicated in other state universities and public schools nationwide.
"I'm really happy because we can now test this program if it is truly effective in making life easier and better for our beloved senior citizens. This is our own little way of showing our gratitude for their sacrifices," Ong said.
"Ipinaparating din ng programang ito sa senior citizens na meron pa ring tumitingin at nag-aalala sa kapakanan nila nang pang-matagalan more than the usual dole-outs (This program will convey to the senior citizens that their are still being cared for on a long term basis. More than the usual dole outs. This program gives them another chance at employment, another chance to make new friends and another chance at new exciting lives," he added.
Ong also pushed for the institutionalization of this special work-for-pay program and filed House Bill 5362 or the Senior Citizens Employment Opportunity Act to ensure the automatic employment allocation for Filipinos aged 60 and above.
Ong's bill seeks to amend Section 5 of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 to ensure that senior citizens whose annual income is below the poverty threshold as determined by the Philippine Statistic Authority(PSA) are given priority employment through job matches provided by the DOLE and the National Commission on Senior Citizens (NCSC).
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