Gov’t should promote welfare of senior citizens
THE PHILIPPINES is among the world’s civilized nations. Given this, it is incumbent on the government to embrace respect for human rights, patients’ rights, women’s rights, the rights of the unborn, the rights of children, and the rights of the aged, among other earmarks of a respectable nation.
As a physician committed to promote the health and welfare of women, I would like to draw attention to the plight of senior citizens in general and women in particular, the country having just marked Senior Citizens’ Week on Oct. 1-6.
Ten million Filipinos are senior citizens, and this sector is growing because of improved healthcare, environment, and peace and order. To accelerate progress in the care of the aged, there is need for a specific government facility that will cater to their welfare. This should not be difficult to address considering that in our culture, love and respect for elders are foremost.
Forty years ago as president of the Philippine Federation of Private Medical Practitioners, I maintained a Philippine Geriatric Center in our building on Arroceros Street in Manila, where senior women citizens were treated as house cases. The patients were given lectures on how to maintain their health and welfare and how to promote their longevity. There were also social workers who assisted the women in their social problems. The center organized free sessions where dancing lessons and easy calisthenics were held and demonstrated.
To drum up patronage as well as interest and attendance in the inauguration, I solicited the support of Dr. Josefa Edralin Marcos, who consented to be the sponsor and keynote speaker provided that I danced with her in the opening ceremonies. She was an inspiration to the attendees and participants because she demonstrated how, at more than 92 years old, she could climb the flights of stairs from the ground floor to the auditorium on the fourth floor.
Most senior citizens are retirees who, during their productive years, raised children for the country, contributed to its growth and development, and supported the government with taxes that each of them paid for decades. These homebound heroes and heroines of life who are now in the “predeparture area” to their heavenly destinations deserve the best that the country can bestow as a tribute to their generous existence.
—SANTIAGO A. DEL ROSARIO, MD, former president, Philippine Federation of Private Medical Practitioners
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.