In addition, HelpAge publishes Global AgeWatch Index that ranks countries by how well their ageing populations are faring. You can find data set of 96 countries, including country report card for the Philippines.
Situation of older people
The number of older people is growing
In the Philippines, the number of older people is increasing rapidly, faster than growth in the total population. [i] In 2000, there were 4.6 million senior citizens (60 years or older), representing about 6% of the total population. In one decade, this grew to 6.5 million older people or about 6.9% of the total population.[ii] The National Statistics Office projects that by 2030, older people will make up around 11.5 % of the total population.[iii]
Older people need care and support
An ageing population increases the demand for health services.[iv] Older people suffer from both degenerative and communicable diseases due to the ageing of the body’s immune system. The leading causes of morbidity are infections, while visual impairment, difficulty in walking, chewing, hearing, osteoporosis, arthritis and incontinence are other common health-related problems.[v]
Older people struggle with poverty
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), a nearly a third (31.4%) of older people were living in poverty in 2000.[vi] Currently, this number is estimated to be 1.3 million older people.[vii]
More than half of all older people (57.1%) were employed in 2000. More males were employed (63.6%) than women (37.4%). The majority of those employed (41%) were involved in primary economic activities such as farming, forestry work and fishing.[viii]
Below are the key statistics on the Philippine’s population of older people:
|Older people (total)||5,905,000||23,633,000|
|Older people as percentage of total population||6.1%||15.3%|
|Life expectancy (males)||66||–|
|Life expectancy (females)||73||–|
|Old age dependency ratio (ratio of people 65+ to those of working age)||7%|
|Older people in poverty||1.3 M|
|Older women as a percentage of the population aged 60+||53.8%|
The Philippine Government has enacted laws that cater to the needs and provides privileges and benefits to older persons.
National policy on older people
Republic Act No. 344 or the Accessibility Law of 1982 provides for the minimum requirements and standards to make buildings, facilities, and utilities for public use accessible to persons with disability, including older persons who are confined to wheelchairs and those who have difficulty in walking or climbing stairs, among others.
Republic Act No. 7876 entitled “An Act Establishing a Senior Citizens Center in all Cities and Municipalities of the Philippines, and Appropriating Funds Therefore” provides for the establishment of Senior Citizens Centers to cater to older persons’ socialisation and interaction needs as well as to serve as a venue for the conduct of other meaningful activities. The DSWD in coordination with other government agencies, NGOs and people’s organisations shall provide the necessary technical assistance in the form of social and recreational services, health and personal care services, spiritual services, livelihood services and volunteer resource services.
Republic Act No. 8425 provides for the institutionalisation and enhancement of the social reform agenda by creating the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC). Through its multi-dimensional and cross-sectoral approach, NAPC provides a mechanism for older persons to participate in policy formulation and decision-making on matters concerning poverty alleviation.
Republic Act No. 10155, known as “The General Appropriations Act of 2012”, under Section 28 mandates that all government agencies and instrumentalities should allocate one percent of their total agency budget to programs and projects for older persons and persons with disabilities.
Republic Act No. 9994, known as “Expanded Seniors Citizen Act of 2010″, an act granting additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens, further amending Republic Act No. 7432 and otherwise known as “an act to maximise the contribution of senior citizens to nation building, grant benefits and special privileges and for other purposes”.[x]
Presidential Proclamations and Executive Orders
Presidential Proclamation No. 470, Series of 1994, declaring the first week of October of every year as “Elderly Filipino Week.”
Presidential Proclamation No. 1048, Series of 1999, declaring a “Nationwide Observance in the Philippines of the International Year of Older Persons”.
Executive Order No. 105, Series of 2003, approved and directed the implementation of the program providing for group homes and foster homes for neglected, abandoned, abused, detached, and poor older persons and persons with disabilities.
The Philippine Plan of Action for Senior Citizens (2011-2016) This plan aims to ensure giving priority to community-based approaches which are gender-responsive, with effective leadership and meaningful participation of senior citizens in decision-making processes, both in the context of family and community. This plan of action aims to ensure active aging for senior citizens where preventive and promotive aspects of health are emphasised in communities and where health services are accessible, affordable and available at all times. Envisioning a population of senior citizens who are self-sufficient and self-reliant, this plan aims to promote financial security and financial independence of senior citizens by developing community-based local delivery systems to address their needs.
Health and care
The Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) has issued Administrative Order No. 4 series of 2010, “Guidelines on the Home Care Support Services for Senior Citizens”, establishing community based health care services for older persons.
The RA 9994 provides health care services for poor older persons such as free medical services on government hospitals, discounted services on private hospitals and clinics, free vaccines, discounted medicines, and mandatory PhilHealth coverage.
Older people’s associations
The Philippine Constitution supports the formation of community based organisations. The DSWD have facilitated the formation of older people’s associations in every city and municipality. They are also tasked to provide technical assistance to support and strengthen OPAs.
Under the RA 9994, the Philippine Government provides a social pension of 12USD (Php500) per month to poor older persons aged 77 and over who are not yet receiving any government or private pension. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the lead agency tasked with identifying and reviewing social pension beneficiaries.
The following organisations are part of the HelpAge network in the Philippines:
- Coalition of Services to the Elderly
- Confederation of Older Persons Association of the Philippine (COPAP)
The following are recent publications and resources related to the Philippine’s population of older people.
- Emergency responses in Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam
- Community based homecare for older people in South East Asia
- Phillipines Country Report: Community Services for the Elderly in the Philippines
- Older People Needs in Emergency
- COSE, OP Magazine
- Gerlock, E., Love Grows, 2009
More information can be found on the Philippines Government website:
[i] Perez, A. Building an Active, disability-Free society for All. Human Rights Forum, vol. 9, no.1. Jul-Dec 1999
[ii] National Statistics Office, 2000
[iv] Department of Health, Health and Well-being of Older Persons June 2012
[v] Philippine Health Statistics, 2000
[vi] COSE 2006 please also include title of document or a link
[vii] Department of Health, Health and Well-being of Older Persons June 2012
[viii] National Statistics Office 2000, Special Report on Senior Citizens, Manila
[ix] Department of Social Welfare and Development and Department of Health, Philippine Country Report: Community Services for the Elderly in the Philippines, August 2007
[x] Republic Act No. 7432: Senior Citizens Act of 1992