BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance declaring every June 15 as the Elder Abuse Awareness Day in the city and for other purposes it may serve.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it will be declared a policy of the local government to protect and promote the right to health of the people and it shall harness the collective voice of the city’s elderly population to initiate a city-wide program that will promote their well-being and an action that emphasize on the prevention of all forms of elder abuse, including financial and material exploitation.
The ordinance declared every June 15 as Elderly Abuse Awareness Day in the city to ensure public awareness of the prevention of abuses against the elderly.
Under the proposed ordinance, an annual public education and awareness program shall be undertaken on the country’s social issue which affects the health and human rights of the elderly to ensure a meaningful observance of the declared Elderly Abuse Awareness Day.
Further, the program shall focus on the prevention of elder abuse, as well as giving importance and respect due to the elderly.
The ordinance added the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) shall endeavour to partner with private, public, and non-government organizations and institutions to assist it in the implementation of comprehensive public education and awareness programs on elder abuse, benefits and protection.
The ordinance mandates that the OSCA, in coordination with the Social Services Division of the City Mayor’s Office and the City Health Services Office, shall formulate the implementing rules and regulations necessary for the effective and efficient implementing of the measure within 60 days from the approval of the measure.
Moreover, the ordinance stipulated the amount to implement the measure shall be included in the city’s annual budget to guarantee the successful implementation of all programs, projects and activities lined up for the said event.
The 1987 Constitution provides that the State shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the elderly, among others, at an affordable cost and in addition, it provides that the family has the duty to care for its elderly members but the State may also do so through just programs of social security.
Resolution No. 66/127 of the United Nations General Assembly declared every June 15 as the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day which represents the single day in a year when the whole world voices its opposition to the abuse and suffering inflicted to some of the elderly.
Yangot explained the present demographics indicate a shift favouring the growth of the elderly population which entails a significant amount of abuse, and a large percentage of which goes unreported partly due to barriers such as infirmity, fear or embarrassment on the part of the victims.
He underscored the observance of elder abuse is difficult if not shameful to comprehend as some receive abuse where said abuse is ignored or covered up.
By Dexter A. See