Better homes sought for growing number of seniors
A party list lawmaker is seeking national government regulation on commercial homes for elderly care and assisted living, citing the continuing increase in the number of aging Filipinos.
In filing House Bill No. 8167, United Senior Citizens party list Rep. Milagros Aquino Magsaysay is looking to fill the gaps in government regulation, accreditation and monitoring of private, for-profit residential care facilities or group homes for senior citizens in the country.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed there were 9.22 million senior citizens as of 2020, 7.5 percent higher than the 7.53 million recorded in 2015. Out of the PSA’s data, the Commission on Population and Development noted a continuing upward trajectory in the number of Filipinos aged 60 and above “due to better health and socioeconomic conditions.”
Magsaysay pointed out that the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s (DSWD) authority to regulate and accredit “only extends to social welfare agencies and/or auxiliary social welfare and development agencies which are either public or government-run facilities or nonstock, nonprofit institutions operated by religious denominations or nongovernmental organizations.”
In need of special care
According to the lawmaker, “most private, for-profit residential care and group homes for senior citizens are not being regulated by either DSWD or DOH (Department of Health), except for the mandatory business permits from the local government units (LGU).”
She pointed out that clients of such facilities and group homes need special care and protection, as well as a dignified quality of life and “it must be ensured that they are not subject to neglect or abuse inside these facilities and that these establishments comply with the Accessibility Law for seniors with disabilities, especially since they are paying clientele.”
Magsaysay said that HB 8167 seeks to include commercial elderly residential care facilities and group homes under the DSWD’s regulatory, accreditation and licensing powers.
The proposed measure specifically covers such facilities operating as a business under proper LGU-issued licenses and permits, but without prior DSWD-accreditation nor DOH regulation.
HB 8167 would require commercial shelters for the elderly to comply with the comprehensive system of registration, licensing and accreditation of social welfare programs and services set by the DSWD. They would also be held similarly liable under the mechanism for sanctions in case of noncompliance with DSWD-established standards and procedures.
The bill would also task the DSWD to work with the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Bureau of Internal Revenue and, where applicable, with the DOH and the Department of Trade and Industry, to “ensure that these residential care facilities and establishments obtain the required licenses and permits under their respective government mandates.”