SENATOR Grace Poe sought increased livelihood programs for the country’s greying population which they can do at home to help tide them over the coronavirus pandemic.
“With their depth of experience and knowledge gained through the years, there is no doubt that senior citizens will make an integral contribution to economic development,” Poe said.
She made the call following a report by the Philippine Statistics Authority that cited an increase in the number of people seeking jobs for those aged 65 and older and those 15 to 24.
“It’s a sad reality to see our elderlies looking for work despite the perils of COVID-19 when they should be staying at home and enjoying the fruits of their labor,” Poe said.
“Crucial intervention is needed to offer our senior citizens means of living that they can engage in without exposing themselves to the disease,” the senator added.
Poe said the Department of Education or the Commission on Higher Education can come up with a program that will allow schools and training institutions to tap tech-savvy youth to aid senior citizens better understand and use technology.
“It could be a knowledge exchange. Our senior citizens can teach the young people traditional subjects and in turn, youth volunteers can aid the seniors to use and maximize technology,” she said.
“It’s a good synergy that will bridge generations and foster a tighter and kinder society,” Poe added.
The Department of Labor can also help link senior citizens to home-based livelihood opportunities through its various programs.
Senior citizens are facing a triple challenge amid the pandemic. Along with health risks, many are battling survival due to loss of income, and further coping with the perils of isolation, Poe stressed.
While they are expected to keep themselves at home to avoid the risk of contracting COVID-19, many elders still depend on going out to work to put a meal on the table or buy other essentials.
Poe raised the need for an urgent action plan for home-based livelihood programs for senior citizens that may be jointly supported by the government and the private sector and help elders cope with being alone at home and isolated.
“The growing bandwagon of remote work or work-from-home arrangements opens an opportunity for our elderlies to find means of living without exposing themselves to the virus,” Poe said.
“The government bears a heavy responsibility of taking care of our senior citizens. Working in their golden years should be just a matter of choice, not necessity,” Poe added.
The senator said vaccinating as many senior citizens as possible will also give them the necessary armor against the worst effects of the virus whenever they go out of their homes.