No one is too old to work
INTROSPECTIVE - Tony Katigbak (The Philippine Star) - February 20, 2017 - 12:00am

At last, it is comforting to know that the Philippines is somehow taking bigger strides in helping older citizens. We have finally realized that age is rarely, if it even ever is, a determining factor in whether or not someone can work and do their job well. Much like in the United States, it has no become unlawful for employers to discriminate based on the age of an employee or applicant.

I think this is long overdue. We’ve become so used to seeing employment signs here looking for applicants “up to 25 years of age only.” I always used to be so surprised whenever I’d see that thinking what makes a 30-year old less qualified than someone under 25? In fact, in so many ways one would think that someone older would have more experience and would therefore be a more solid choice. But no, for some reason age was a very specific requirement for so many jobs in the country.

But hopefully not anymore. The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) has finally stated that no one is too old to work anymore. DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III signed Department Order No. 170, which provides the implementing rules and regulations of Repulic Act 10911 or the Anti-Age Discrimination Act.

Through this act, employers are no longer allowed to publish in any form, in any media any type of employment announcement with age preference or discrimination. The law further prohibits employers from requesting for applicants’ birthdays or declaration of age as well as declining employment or benefits based on age. And finally the law prohibits employers from mandating an age for early retirement.

I wrote in a previous column that I think this type of law is a wonderful step in the right direction and I hope it gets successfully implemented. I know a lot of people who are talented and exceptional and worry about getting older and potentially losing their jobs due to their age even though they are still sharp as a tack and able to perform their role successfully. The Anti-Age Discrimination Act helps provide them with at least a little bit of job security.

The same holds true for those who are older and looking for employment. It is comforting to know that they at least have more options now. After all, in the other countries as long as a person wants to work and has the skills, they can. Not like here when you are past a certain age you no longer have opportunities and are, essentially, caught between a rock and a hard place.

Another step the current administration is taking towards helping the aging population in the country is increasing the pension. Despite the advise of close friends and cabinet members, President Duterte plans on pushing through with his campaign promise of increasing the senior citizen pension to P2,000. He plans on doing this in two steps over the next few months and years. Again, this might mean increasing SSS contributions to offset the cost, but in the end it’s like saving for the future.

After all, senior citizens now contributed their whole lives to the SSS and many, like myself, rely on this fund for a rainy day. A higher monthly pension can really help so many who need it. In this aspect, President Duterte is keeping his word and looking out for the many senior citizens in the Philippines who truly need the extra pension monthly. With cost of living going up and medical expenses almost entirely out of pocket in the country, senior citizens often find themselves needing the money the most in their twilight years. Increased pension will help in so many ways.

I look forward to seeing how these steps in caring for the older generation will turn into a proactive wheel that constantly turns around and ends up benefitting everyone in the end. The youth may resent higher contributions now or the thought of having to battle older citizens for jobs, but in the end, everyone gets older and everyone will experience the benefits senior citizens enjoy at some point. It’s best to think of any present inconveniences as banking in your own future or the future of those you love.

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I am completely shocked that the administration is thinking of making Janet Lim Napoles a state witness against alleged “bigger players” in the pork barrel scam. It’s ridiculous because we all followed the pork barrel case very closely and know that she was one of the big players diverting funds and creating bogus non-government organizations. Why should she be set free or given immunity when she was right in the thick of it?

It’s become quite disheartening because President Duterte said that, above all, his administration would remain clean and weed out corruption but it seems like the practice of having “connections” to get you out of trouble is alive and well. President Duterte said that he didn’t “owe anyone favors” and would therefore remain impartial once in power, but that didn’t last very long before he started saying he “owed his friend Marcos” and didn’t want to offend him. And of course, what happened after that? The late dictator was buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Now it seems like shadier government arrangements are being made. It boggles my mind how easily Filipinos forget. Just recently the Court of Appeals denied the petition that sought to overturn the decision of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) that granted Datu Sajid Islam Ampatuan the right to bail. So he got out after posting over P11 million in bail for 58 counts of murder. And now it looks like Napoles may walk as well. When will enough ever be enough? When will justice truly be served in the country? And an even scarier thought… what will they do/allow next?


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