January 12, 2012
ANGARA: FOLLOW JAPAN'S LEAD, INVEST IN PRODUCTIVE
TOKYO, JAPAN -- Senator Edgardo J. Angara lauded the initiatives of Japan in taking care of their elderly population during the 20th Annual Meeting of the Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) and encouraged other countries, especially the Philippines to heed their example.
"Japan has several institutes to address the growing needs of the ageing population, among them are The Japan Aging Research Center (JARC), the International Longevity Center-Japan (ILC Japan), the Smart Aging International Research Center in Tohoku University, and the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology," said Angara.
"These institutions, grounded on interdisciplinary research on an ageing society, have been active in engaging in discussions particularly concerning the ethos of productive ageing. Here, the elderly are not seen as socially weak or a target of discrimination, they were recognized as an integral part of the society".
In an absence of a similar institution in the Philippines, Angara urges, "We must address the growing needs of our elderly by providing primary health care and wellness services to elderly population especially those living in the underserved communities".
Angara, author of the Senior Citizen's Act of 1991 and National Health Insurance Act (Philhealth Law), has recently filed Senate Bill No. 2982 seeking the creation of a Philippine Institute for Ageing which will serve as a counterpart research center in the Philippines that will generate science and research-based solutions to guide policymaking on social, legal, economic and physiological issues surrounding ageing in the country.
"There is a growing need for ageing experts, as senior citizens account for 6.9% of the total Philippine population or a total of 6.8 million Filipinos. The Philippines has 35 certified geriatricians but only 20 of them remain in the country," he lamented. The Philippine elderly population grew at a rate of 4.39% during the 1995 to 2000 period and the number is expected to reach 7M in 2010 and will double in 16 years.
"We must take urgent action on these issues. We must learn from Japan. We do it not just for those who are old now but ultimately, for ourselves."
The Philippine Delegation to the APPF, headed by Senator Franklin Drilon, and joined by Angara, together with Reps. Victor Ortega and Rene Relapagos, will be in Tokyo from January 8 to 12. The APPF is an annual conference that brings together parliamentarians from the Asia-Pacific region to discuss regional politics and security, economy and trade, and inter-regional cooperation. There are 19 participating countries.
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