Lowering the senior citizen’s age

STRAIGHT TO THE POINT - Atty. Ruphil Bañoc - The Freeman

With age comes wisdom --well, generally. It may be said say that an aged person is a gem. It pays to converse with them often because they have seen the triumphs, tragedies, and lessons that come with them.

Therefore, to give our senior citizens such rights as discounts is in order.

Some people see an irony in the discounts we give them. They have discounts s on food at a time when their doctors tell them to eat less. They have discounts in movie houses at a time when their eyes are already problematic, or they have no more energy to go outside the house.

This irony, however, does not mean we should not be extending discounts. On the contrary, society should do more to make our senior citizens enjoy the twilight of their lives. The truth is many of them still have a zest for life.

The question is whether we should lower the age to be considered a senior citizen from 60 to 56, thus expanding the population of senior citizens.

This is precisely what Senator Bong Revilla intended to do. He filed a bill to this effect. If passed, this would mean more senior citizens in our country. It must also be stressed that the proposed legislation does not lower the retirement age, which is 60 as optional and 65 as mandatory, for government employees.

“Today, especially during the pandemic, a lot weren’t lucky enough to reach the age of 60. As the saying goes: ‘What good is grass if the horse is dead,’” the senator said in a statement.

I have yet to see a more compelling reason given by the senator. If we lower the age, what will stop another legislator from lowering the age further to, say, 55 or 50? A similar argument may also be used: some are not lucky enough to reach 55 or 50.

I think we must stop somewhere; otherwise, we will further deplete the government’s already-limited resources. The best way to spend our resources is to consume them equitably, meaning we have to address many other sectors which are similarly in need of help.

The business sector will also look at this bill, which would mean they have to extend discounts to more people.

Senior citizens get a 20% discount on food, medicine, lodging, and transportation. There are also other benefits.

Apart from acknowledging the contribution of our seniors during their prime age, the wisdom behind discounts and other privileges is granted because, among other reasons, older people generally no longer possess the earning capacity they once had when they were younger. A carpenter’s precision may now have lessened in comparison to when he was younger. But the question is by what scientific or reasonable standard can we say a person is already weak to deserve the discounts and privileges?

Don’t get me wrong. I am for helping those who must be helped.

Social welfare legislation aims to help the weak or marginalized in society. It is not intended to throw away resources mindlessly. A reasonable balance should be the desired goal. That is why I wish the legislature would study this bill intensely.


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