January 18, 2012
PHL AGEING INSTITUTE TO BE MODELED AFTER JAPAN'S
Senator Edgardo J. Angara is pushing for the establishment of a Philippine Institute of Ageing (PIA) which he hopes will duplicate the pioneering research of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology in the Philippine setting.
"Japan is an excellent example of foresight and responsiveness, not only in dealing with natural disasters, but also in demographic challenges such as its graying population," said Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE).
"They continue to generate innovative methods to deal with the ageing population. The elderly are not considered an economic burden, but an integral part of society who have great potential to contribute when provided with the right infrastructure, policies and opportunities."
The Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, a research center founded in 1972, is considered a pioneer in the field of gerontological research. It goes beyond the medical research and treatment offered by similar institutes and offers a social and human aspect to the pursuit.
An example of such interventions is the Research of Productivity by Intergenerational Sympathy (REPRINTS). It does not only encourage the elderly to engage in physical activities such as walking and reading books to children; it also promotes caring interaction between the youth and the elderly. The study has been proven to increase the 'giving-aspect' attitude of young people toward the elderly.
The Institute is funded by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and continues to make breakthroughs in medical research, such as the preclinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's, and the prevention of cognitive function decline, including diabetes and hypertension, through regular physical activity.
Angara expressed his hope that the Institute, a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaboration Center program, could provide assistance in setting up the Philippine Institute for Ageing in the country, to which the Institute responded with enthusiasm. Drs. Naoki Maruyama and Ryutaro Takahashi of the Institute have suggested collaborations through research exchanges and field work opportunities for Filipino students.
"This will be the start of our close relationship in establishing a similar Institute in the Philippines, that could one day be a worthy partner to the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology," said the veteran lawmaker.
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.
Angara visited Tokyo, Japan last week as part of the Philippine delegation to the 20th Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum.