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DSWD-NCR SWD Policy Forum Focuses on the Elderly Sector

The Department of Social Welfare and Development National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR) recently conducted a Policy Forum on the Establishment of National Commission of Senior Citizens at Icon Hotel, Timog, Quezon City, as part of its efforts to promote the welfare of the elderly sector.

The event aimed to be a venue of discussion of Social Welfare Development policy concerns among partner stakeholders to collate or develop concrete policy recommendations and plan of actions to lobby the DSWD priority legislative measures.

During the first part of the forum, a national situationer, which gave an overall picture of the current conditions of the elderly sector across the country, was presented by Project Development Officer III Sylvia D.  Alegre.  Aside from the financial and economic circumstances of Senior Citizens, the existing laws, programs, and initiatives geared towards the welfare of the elderly sector were also laid out.

The first bill presented was “The National Commission of Senior Citizens Act”, which proposed the establishment of a National Commission of senior citizens. The commission will be the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans, and programs for senior citizens to protect and promote their rights.

DSWD-NCR Regional Director Vincent Andrew T. Leyson emphasized the need for a body focused on the welfare of senior citizens. “I think it is high time that we create this commission, given that around 10 million of the population are part of the elderly sector,” he said during his remarks.

Meanwhile, the second proposed bill known as the Elderly Abused Bill or the “Protection for Elderly Act”, aims to ensure that the senior citizens are protected from all forms of violence, abuse, neglect, exploitation, and coercion, especially acts harmful to their personal safety and security.

A plenary discussion by sectorial representatives was held after the presentation of the proposed bills. Panelists Mr. Jorge B. Banal Sr., President of the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines,  Ms. Salvacion Basciano of the National Anti-Poverty Commission, Coalition of Services of the Elderly Inc., Ms. Adelwisa Maria Joaquin, the President of Bantay Matanda Inc., and Ms. Rosita B. Gonio of the Hulong Duhat Elderly Senior Citizen Association gave their respective opinions, reactions, and comments on the lobbying of the proposed bills.

Attendees took part in an open forum during the second part of the program, in which they raised their issues, concerns, and queries to the members of the panel.

At the end of the event, participants signed the tarpaulin of the forum in a show of solidarity with the Department’s advocacy. The symbolic signing also represents the signature campaign that was launched during the forum.  ###

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