(File photo)

MANILA – As the nation celebrates Elderly Filipino Week, the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) on Monday cited its programs to help and support senior citizens lead a healthy and productive lives, while contributing to nation-building.

“The Elderly Week celebration becomes a focused activity in order to give emphasis to the need of this country to help and support the senior citizens. On the other hand, the senior citizens also would like to reaffirm their commitment to helping this country,” NCSC chair Franklin Quijano said during the Laging Handa public briefing.

Quijano said in the next 15 years, two out of 10 Filipinos will be senior citizens, leading to additional resources needed by government to take care of their well-being.

“Kapag hindi tayo naghanda at hindi natin binibigyang-pansin ang mga (If we don’t prepare and we don’t give attention to the) senior citizens, then not only will our government resources be drained and heavily burdened by the number of seniors, lalung-lalo na (especially so) if the families will not unite,” he said.

He said one of the programs being looked into by the NCSC is for families and communities with senior citizens to reaffirm the Filipino value of caring for senior citizens through what he called “inter-generational dialogues” to prepare families to be “ready, supportive and loving” to the elderly.

Quijano said the NCSC is also advocating for “healthy, productive aging” through regular annual medical checkups with the help and support of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and other government agencies.

At the same time, Quijano said the commission is encouraging senior citizens to be “pillars in nation-building.”

“Ini-imbentaryo natin iyong mga abilidad ng mga senior citizens ngayon at tinatanong natin sila, ano ba ang iiwanan nilang mga skills sets sa next generation? Also, we are asking our senior citizens na baka may maitutulong po sila sa mga paglutas ng mga pangunahing problema ng ating bansa lalung-lalo na sa infrastructure, iyong mga drainage issues, iyong mga skills issues. At hinihikayat natin iyong seniors na talagang magbigay ng lahat ng maibibigay nila for our nation (We are now making an inventory on the abilities of our senior citizens, and we are asking them what skills sets they can leave to the next generation. We are also asking them what they may contribute to solving the main problems of our country, especially in infrastructure, drainage issue and skills issues. And we are encouraging them to really contribute their all for the nation),” he said.

The NCSC is also looking to coordinate with developed countries to improve its abilities in delivering services to the elderly.

Quijano said they are looking forward to complete a database for the more than 12.3 million senior citizens in the country where the health profile, skills profile, and other profiles needed by NCSC will be recorded.

“Kailangan nating malaman ang health profile ng bawat senior citizen nang sa ganoon ay makatulong ang ating pamahalaan sa kanilang health programs. Pati rin iyong mga skillset profile nang sa ganoon ay mahikayat natin iyong mga senior citizens na tumulong sa ating nation-building, and the other profile as well (We need to know their health profiles so that government can help in their health programs. Also, their skillset profile so that we can encourage them to help in nation-building),” he said. (PNA)