CHR backs House bill protecting seniors from abuse
MANILA, Philippines – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) urged the House of Representatives to pass a proposal protecting senior citizens, as the world commemorated the International Day for Older Persons on Tuesday, Oct. 1.
According to CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia, the Anti-Elder Abuse Act is badly needed especially in the Philippines, where older people have been subjected to discrimination and abuses.
“The Commission shall never waver in its role of protecting the elderly and continues to reiterate its call for the unhampered passage of the Anti-Elder Abuse Act, which defines ‘elder abuse’ and provides mechanism for legal, social, and moral redress when abuse against an elderly individual has been committed,” De Guia said in a statement.
“As we celebrate the International Day for Older Persons, we express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for our elders whilst keeping in mind that they are pillars of strength, wisdom, and custodians of tradition,” she added.
In the last 17th Congress, House Bill No. 7030 was approved by the House of Representatives on the third and final reading, with all 176 lawmakers present voting for its passage.
However, it was not acted upon in a bicameral conference, as the Congress went into recess in preparation for the 2019 midterm elections.
Under the proposed measure, people who abuse senior citizens — whether in physical, psychological, economic, or sexual form — will be penalized and fined.
De Guia said the world is moving from overlooking older people to a more ‘inclusive’ view on older people, as several international conventions have sought to protect the rights of the elderly. However, she said these frameworks are not enough to protect Filipino seniors.
“[…] In recent years, there has been a recent shift towards conventions-based inclusivity with the inclusion of the rights of older persons in human rights instruments, such as Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD),” she noted.
“While these frameworks provide protections, older persons continue to face key challenges: Filipino senior citizens are still challenged with limitations and discriminations in their everyday life, whether it is lack of access to facilities or opportunities,” she stressed.
Under the 18th Congress, there have been some bills filed primarily aimed at supporting the elderly. Just on Monday, Sen. Panfilo Lacson filed Senate Bill No. 29 — the proposed Parents Welfare Act of 2019.
If enacted, people who abandon or neglect their old and sick parents would be penalized with imprisonment of one to six months or be fined by up to P100,000. This is aside from the establishment of old age homes in cities and provinces.
People who will be found to have the intent of “wholly abandoning” their aging parents may be slapped with a jail sentence of six to 10 years or a minimum fine of P300,000.
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