The information on the ageing population in this country is presented under three sections: 1.) Situation of older people, 2.) Key facts and 3.) Government policies related to older people
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. In 2000, there were 4.6 million senior citizens (60 years or older), representing about 6% of the total population. In two decades, this has grown to 9.4 million older people or about 8.6% of the total population. The World Population Prospects 2019 projects that by 2050, older people will make up around 16.5% of the total population.
Older people need care and support
An ageing population increases the demand for health services. 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.
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. Currently, this number is estimated to be 1.3 million older people.
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. According to the latest World Social Protection Report 2017-19, just 39.8% of people older than the statutory pensionable age in the Philippines receive an old-age pension (contributory, noncontributory or both).
Below are the key statistics on the Philippine’s population of older people:
|Population aged 60 and above (total)||9,433,000||23,863,000|
|Population aged 60 and above (% of total population)||8.6||16.5|
|Older women aged 60+ (% of total population)||4.83||9.40|
|Life expectancy (males)||67.08||71.88|
|Life expectancy (females)||75.31||79.5|
|Old-Age Dependency Ratio (Age 65+ / Age 15-64)||8.6||17.7|
|Rural older people (% of total population)||6.48|
|Urban older people (% of total population)||6.54|
|Older persons living alone aged 60 and above (% of total population aged 60+)||5.4|
Government policies related to older people
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”.
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) 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.
The Plan of Action on Ageing 1999-2004 included health promotion and disease prevention for adults, by providing free flu vaccinations, osteoporosis screenings and eye tests. The National Action Plan on Senior Citizens focused on aspects of quality of life such as living independently.
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. The Philippine Plan of Aging included development of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines throughout the country.
A social pension was introduced in 2011 by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in which those over 60 who are identified as poor by means testing and not receiving any other pension or social insurance can receive 500 Ph Pesos a month. The Department of Social Welfare and Development is the lead agency tasked with identifying and reviewing social pension beneficiaries. Of those who are over the age of eligibility, 35.4% claim a social pension, 29% have a contributory pension scheme such as The Social Security System that covers the private sector workforce, and all domestic and self-employed workers. 35.6% of the Indonesian population do not have a pension at all.
The following organisations are part of the HelpAge network in the Philippines:
- Coalition of Services to the Elderly Inc. (COSE)
- Confederation of Older Persons Association of the Philippine (COPAP)
The following are 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:
- HelpAge International. 2012. Ageing in the 21st Century: A Celebration and A Challenge. New York: UNFPA.
- HelpAge International. 2015. Policy Mapping on Ageing in Asia and the Pacific Analytical Report, Chiang Mai: HelpAge International East Asia/Pacific Regional Office.
- International Labour Organization. 2018. World Social Protection Report 2017–19. Geneva: ILO.
- Republic of the Philippines. 2000. Philippine Health Statistics. Manila: Department of Health.
- Pension Watch, 2016. Country Fact File: Philippines. [Online] Available at: http://www.pension-watch.net/country-fact-file/philippines/ [Accessed 5 August 2019]
- UNDESA. 2000. Health and Well-Being in Older Age. New York: United Nations.
- United Nations. 2014. Urban and Rural Population by Age and Sex, 1980-2015. Retrieved from Urban and Rural Population: https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/dataset/urban/urbanAndRuralPopulationByAgeAndSex.asp
- United Nations. 2017. Living Arrangements of Older Persons: A Report on an Expanded International Dataset. New York: United Nations.
- United Nations. 2019. World Population Prospects 2019. Retrieved from United Nations Population Division: https://population.un.org/wpp/Download/Standard/Population/