Press Release
August 11, 2011


Though the country's population remains relatively young, the growing number of senior citizens should compel the government to improve health care services for the elderly by establishing a well-mapped curriculum in Geriatrics and expanding the coverage of PhilHealth, said Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

According to the National Statistics Office (NSO), the number of senior citizens is expected to swell over the next three decades. Data reveals that in 2005, the number of the elderly comprised 6.1 percent or 5.3 million of the nation's population with the proportion expected to increase to 13.8 percent or 19.6 million in 2040.

Noting these projections, Angara, father of the Senior Citizens' Act, stressed that services for the elderly Filipinos are at times inaccessible and inadequate. "The government must be ready to provide privileges and benefits other than what the law provides.

"The first thing we should do is to look at the academic curriculum of medical schools and find out whether there are enough subjects incorporated in the curriculum for geriatric medicine, a sub-specialty of medicine focusing on the care for the elderly. We should also attract young, bright medical graduates to this field," Angara said.

More importantly, he added, "The government should support research in the field of aging and refine some policy instruments like PhilHealth. Insurance companies are particularly hostile to seniors because if you are 60 or 70 years old, they won't cover you anymore."

The Senator also encouraged local government officials to create a registry of the elderly within their locality so they can make better policies on with regards to benefits and regulations.

Angara also wants the government to consider the establishment of health insurance for the elderly that will cover nursing homes and daycare centers, home service by doctors and nurses, geriatric care institutions, and specialized health facilities.

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