Bill to lower age of senior citizens to 56 draws mixed reactions

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 08 2022 03:13 PM

MANILA -- Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr's proposed bill that seeks to lower the age of senior citizens from the current 60 to 56 years old has drawn varied reactions from his colleagues, other government agencies, and middle-aged individuals.

Senator Nancy Binay in an interview said Revilla's Senate Bill 1573, which seeks to amend Republic Act 7432 or the Senior Citizens Act, needs to be studied carefully, especially its implications on government's interests and the Philippine labor force. 

"Dapat nating balansehin," Binay said.

(We must balance things out.)

Senator Jinggoy Estrada, one of the lawmakers closest to Revilla, said lawmakers must look into resources to fund the bill. 

"Resources-wise, dun tayo medyo magkakatalo dahil (that's where we need to discuss because) we do not have the resources to augment," Estrada said.

In defense of his bill, Revilla clarified that he wants the age of senior citizens to be lowered to 56 so more Filipinos can enjoy their benefits for longer. 

His bill, he said, does not make retirement at 56 mandatory.

"At least e maa-avail na lang nila ang discount. Siyempre ang titingnan na lang yung sa negosyo," Revilla said.

For the National Commission for Senior Citizens, SB 1573 is a good idea, provided that all the effects of the bill will be fully discussed.

"As far as culture is concerned, I think okay siya, in a sense that it even accepts the fact that every person ages... from that point of view talagang okay 'yan," he said.

"But on the issue of economics and viability, kailangang pag-usapan muna't at pag-aralan (we need to talk about that and study that). The reason is, siyempre, yung financial viability will be affected by value-added discounts, etcetera," Quijano added.

But what would really help senior citizens, according to Quijano, is a law that will allow "multi-level retirement."

This concept allows every senior citizen to retire, get another job, retire, then work again just like what's happening in other countries, Quijano said.

"Pwedeng i-lift ang retirement, but baka pwedeng may multiple retirement para kung talagang gusto mo yung career track mo, di retirement sa isang career front, then choose another career track," he added.

Meanwhile, people ABS-CBN News spoke with have different thoughts on the matter.

Herminia de Guzman ,27, said she would rather enjoy the benefits of a senior citizen at age 55 given the many hardships and struggles that a working Filipino like her goes through.

Diana Rose Suelo, a 34-year-old housewife from Pampanga, also said that senior citizen benefits and privileges must be enjoyed at age 55 or 56 since many are already bedridden upon reaching the age of 60.

But for taxi driver Angelbert Garcia of Novaliches, Quezon City, lowering the age of senior citizens would be "unfair" to those who had to wait to be 60 years old to enjoy the perks of an elderly.

A father of six children at age 49, Garcia also believes that government revenue collection will be significantly reduced if the age of senior citizens will be lowered to 56.