PH senior citizens in a time of pandemic

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Senior citizens in Ilocos Norte obtain their vaccines at a COVID-19 vaccination facility. The provincial authorities is anticipating to ramp up its vaccination drive to realize herd immunity. (Photo courtesy of Ilocos Norte provincial authorities)

MANILA, Philippines—The first week of October, by way of Proclamation No. 470 signed by then-President Fidel Ramos on Sept. 26, 1994, has been declared as Elderly Filipino Week.

According to the proclamation, the Executive Department, by way of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, is tasked with creating a social welfare program selling the wellbeing of the aged.

According to newest knowledge from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there have been 12,336,355 Filipinos aged 60 years previous and above as of May 2020.

The complete quantity of senior citizens was 11.31 % of the nation’s estimated complete inhabitants at 109,035,343, based mostly on the 2020 Census of Population and Housing (2020 CPH).

Francisca Susano, from Negros Occidental province, who is taken into account the oldest dwelling individual in the nation, celebrated her 124th birthday in September.

The plaque awarded by the National Commission on Senior Citizens (NCSC) additionally claimed that Susano, born on Sept. 11, 1897, can be the oldest individual in the world.

READ: Oldest living Filipino feted on 124th birthday

The COVID-19 pandemic has, nonetheless, added a by no means earlier than seen dimension in how the nationwide authorities ought to deal with senior citizens.

COVID instances, vaccination efforts

The United Nations (UN), in its coverage temporary on the affect of COVID-19 on older individuals revealed in 2020, emphasised that senior citizens are extremely prone to contract SARS Cov2 — the virus that causes COVID-19.

The UN added that aged folks had been at a considerably greater danger of mortality and extreme illness following an infection.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited a number of causes for greater COVID dangers amongst seniors.

These embrace:

  • Senior citizens usually tend to have underlying, long-term well being issues.
  • People’s immune system are inclined to weaken with age, which makes it tougher for older folks to combat off infections.
  • Inflammation tends to be extra intense amongst aged individuals, which will increase the chance of organ injury.
  • Respiratory illnesses, reminiscent of COVID-19, are thought-about a concern amongst older adults as their lung tissue turns into much less elastic over time.

In the Philippines, knowledge from the Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that whereas COVID-19 infections had been fewer amongst Filipinos aged 60 and above than these amongst youthful age teams, the mortality price amongst older sufferers was a lot greater.

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Screenshot from DOH’s COVID-19 Tracker

Data as of Oct. 4 confirmed that there are already 119,484 complete instances amongst Filipinos aged 60 to 64 years previous. The complete recoveries in the identical age group had been 108,873, whereas there are a complete of 4,972 deaths recorded.

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Graphic by Ed Lustan

Among these between ages 65 to 69 years previous, 89,774 have already been taken sick with COVID-19. Still, no less than 79,590 have recovered, whereas 5,328 died.

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Graphic by Ed Lustan

In the 70 to 74 age group, 65,182 instances had been logged. Around 56,400 had been tagged as recovered and 5,109 had been marked as deaths.

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Graphic by Ed Lustan

A complete of 38,449 instances, round 32,436 recoveries, and three,573 deaths had been listed in the 75 to 79 age group.

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Graphic by Ed Lustan

The DOH additionally recorded 45,379 COVID-19 constructive people aged 80 and above. At least 37,074 of them recovered whereas 5,191 died.

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Graphic by Ed Lustan

Amid the rising instances of COVID-19 in the nation, paired with the rising menace of the totally different COVID-19 variants, the nationwide authorities has been pushing vaccination progress amongst senior citizens.

Data breakdown of the nation’s vaccine tracker confirmed that as of Sept. 5, round 4,016,318 people in the A2 class—senior citizens aged 60 and above—have already been absolutely vaccinated in opposition to SARS Cov2.

At least 3,427,089 from the identical precedence group have obtained their first doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

In August, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed concern over the “unacceptable” low quantity of vaccinated senior citizens in the Philippines.

“We are very concerned that most of our older, more vulnerable people are still missing out on essential, life-saving vaccines against COVID-19,” stated Dr. Rabindra Abeyasinghe, WHO consultant to the Philippines.

“Not vaccinating most of our elderly now means more of them will suffer from severe illness and death. This is unacceptable when we already have adequate vaccine stocks to protect them,” stated Abeyasinghe.

READ: Slow PH pace of vaccinating seniors ‘unacceptable’–WHO

Pandemic aid

According to NCSC and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), this 12 months’s theme for the celebration of the Elderly Filipino Week (EFW) is “MahALAGA sina Lolo at Lola Ngayong Pandemya.”

The celebration goals to focus on points regarding senior citizens amid the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The NCSC urges the government, from the national to the local levels, to undertake the necessary steps to heighten the focus in improving the lives of our senior citizens, in all aspects of their lives,” stated NCSC chair lawyer Franklin M. Quijano.

“Let us all pray that we will be liberated from this pandemic, pray for mutual love and protection, that our nation will once again be restored into the path of strength, resiliency and progress,” he added.

The DSWD, because the lead company in social safety, has assured continued assist for the aged by way of a number of packages and providers together with the social pension program and centenarian incentive.

“Amid granular lockdown in some areas, the DSWD continues to distribute the stipend of indigent senior citizen-beneficiaries of the social pension program across the country,” DSWD stated in a assertion.

It stated centenarians will proceed to obtain P100,000 in incentives mandated by regulation.


Data as of May 2021 confirmed that a complete of 827 centenarians—out of the 1,319 goal beneficiaries of DSWD—have already obtained their P100,000 money incentive. This quantities to P82.7 million disbursed from the company’s fund.

Field places of work of DSWD in Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal, and Quezon) and Northern Mindanao have already completed distributing the centenarian incentive for its goal beneficiaries.

In Cebu City, octogenarians and nonagenarians could already obtain a P100,000 monetary incentive beginning in 2022.

READ: Centenarians to get P100k, incentives; IRR signed

Last 12 months, two Senate committees pushed for the approval of Senate Bill No. 1319—a invoice in search of to provide P10,000 money help to Filipinos who attain the age of 80 and 90 years previous.

Acknowledging the affect of the pandemic on the distribution of advantages for centenarians, Sen. Grace Poe has not too long ago really useful a evaluation of the distribution course of.

“Our centenarian lolos and lolas (grandparents) passing away without receiving their cash gift is beyond bearing,” the senator stated in a assertion launched on Sept. 26.

“In distributing the benefits the government should consider reviewing its processes to make them less cumbersome and more accommodating to the elderly, who are naturally constrained by age and resources,” she added.

Welfare safety

Aside from the chance introduced by COVID-19, the UN additionally stated aged folks face extra vulnerabilities amid the worldwide well being pandemic.

UN cited “distressing reports” detailing situations of neglect “or mistreatment” of senior citizens.

To handle and forestall these amongst Filipino senior citizens, the NCSC launched a week-long social media marketing campaign dubbed as “Todo Pito” Campaign.

Part of the fee’s marketing campaign can be a “Healthy Ageing” advocacy which can be carried out each day for the entire week, which began on Oct. 1 and ends on Oct. 7.

The program will sort out points reminiscent of substance abuse, psychological well being, sexual replica, and violence and harm prevention.

It may also embrace discussions on food regimen, train, immunization, and environmental well being.


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