Elders deserve chance for work (2)

“Our institutions, our practices, our regulations have to evolve and respond with the changing times. Life expectancy has been increasing in many societies, including us (in the Philippines)… In countries like Japan or South Korea where life expectancy has increased, the society has opened up opportunities for the age-old members of their population,” Balisacan said in a press briefing.

To address this, the City Government of Manila on Tuesday signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Shakey’s Philippines to employ senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD).

Under the said MoA, Shakeys will employ one senior citizen and one PWD each in all ten Shakey’s branches in the city.

Manila Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Director Fernan Bermejo said the employment program for senior citizens and PWDs started under the term of former Manila Mayor Francisco Moreno Domagoso, where the said program has been enacted into a city ordinance in 2020.

Bermejo said that their numerous food establishments and supermarkets have responded to the call of Mayor Domagoso to employ senior citizens and PWDs.

The implementation of the program had been halted during the start of the lockdown in 2020, where Senior Citizens are not allowed to go outdoors as due to quarantine classifications set by the IATF.

This is also the time when most of the food establishments were closed and they only accept takeout and delivery orders.

Bermejo said that during the term of Domagoso, there are more than 200 Senior citizens and persons with disabilities who benefited from the program.

6-month window

He explained that the contract of those 200 beneficiaries had expired since they were given three to six months to allow more opportunities for other senior citizens and PWDs.

They also shoulder the expenses of the medical examination of those senior citizens and PWDs who will be qualified for the program.

Those who will not be qualified for the program will be referred to other social programs in the city.

Senior citizens are only required to report for only four hours daily during weekdays, while PWDs are required to report eight hours daily during weekdays.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE) said that a thorough study is needed before the government gives a go signal on the measure seeking to remove the mandatory retirement age.

“For us in the DoLE, we want to study this thoroughly. That is not a simple matter that should be decided immediately. We need a careful study of that kind of proposal,” Labor Secretary BienvenidoLaguesma told in a radio interview.

Civil Service Commissioner Aileen Lizada had also the same sentiment in terms of government service.

“If you lift the mandatory age of retirement, you have to consult GSIS (Government Service Insurance System) on this. Because you’re talking about the fund life of the GSIS,” Lizada told CNN Philippines.

“All these have already been projected by GSIS — who will retire, when will they retire? And the funds of GSIS have been invested, they know the RoI (return of investment), they know how much is involved when one retires,” she added.

This comes after Senior Citizens Partylist Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes Jr. filed House Bill 3220, which states that a worker who turns 65 “may choose to continue” in employment if they “qualify under the bona fide occupational qualifications of (their) profession.”

The proposed legislation further stipulates that it is the employer’s responsibility to demonstrate that the employee is no longer capable.

The proposed House Bill 3220, filed by Representative Rodolfo Ordanes Jr. of the Senior Citizens Partylist, would change the Labor Code’s 65-year mandatory retirement age to a 65-year “can choose to continue” option, provided the senior citizen “qualifies under the bona fide occupational requirements.”

Once signed into law, it would allow employees who reach 65 to “choose to continue” their employment so long as they “qualify under the bona fide occupational qualifications of (his or her) job.” If passed, the measure would repeal a Labor Code provision that sets the mandatory retirement age at 65.

The proposed legislation further stipulates that it is the employer’s responsibility to demonstrate that the employee is no longer capable.

If the proposal is adopted, a section of the Labor Code that sets the mandatory retirement age at 65 will be repealed.

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