Party-list solon wants special job program for senior citizens expanded

Published November 10, 2019, 3:59 PM

by Gabriela Baron & Minka Klaudia Tiangco

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Ang Probinsyano partylist Rep. Ronnie Ong is eyeing to expand the special job program for senior citizens.

Ang Probinsyano Rep. Ronnie Ong (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)
Ang Probinsyano Rep. Ronnie Ong (FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN)

The partylist lawmaker bared on Sunday his proposed expansion of the labor program seeking to benefit around 8.7 million senior citizens, a day before the launching of the pilot special job program at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP).

“We are now in talks with the hospitals and hopefully, with the airports. We hope that by doing this, our youth would realize that our senior citizens can still contribute and are able, they can share their experiences and stories,” he said in a radio interview.

Ong thanked Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre Bello III for “tweaking” its Tulong Panghanapbuhay para sa Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) program and allowing the senior citizens to be included in the program.

He said for the pilot program, they have chosen 15 senior citizens who are living near the PUP campus.

“They will work for 15 days and then renewable, and it’s year-round,” he said.

He said the qualified senior citizens will work at least 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the afternoon and their salaries will be sourced from DOLE’s TUPAD funding.

They will receive P537-per day based on the minimum salary in the National Capital Region (NCR), Ong said.

The PUP has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with DOLE and Ong for the pilot implementation of the special employment program for senior citizens.

He said after PUP, another MOA will be forged with the University of the Philippines (UP), hoping that such program will be replicated in other state universities and public schools nationwide.

“I’m really happy because we can now test this program if it is truly effective in making life easier and better for our beloved senior citizens. This is our own little way of showing our gratitude for their sacrifices,” Ong said in a statement.

“This program gives them another chance at employment, another chance to make new friends and another chance at new exciting lives,” he added.

Ong batted for the passage of House Bill 5362 or the Senior Citizens Employment Opportunity Act, which seeks to institutionalize the special work-for-pay program for Filipinos aged 60 years old and above.

HB 5362 seeks to amend Section 5 of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

Ong said the proposed amendment to the law seeks “to ensure that senior citizens whose annual income is below the poverty threshold as determined by the Philippine Statistic Authority(PSA) are given priority employment through job matches provided by the DOLE and the National Commission on Senior Citizens (NCSC).”

Under the bill, all government offices are required to invite, select and hire qualified senior citizens for positions, qualifications and functions initially determined by DOLE, the NCSC and the Civil Service Commission.

HB 5362 grants incentive to private companies that hire elderly. The bill grants them an additional tax deduction from their gross income equivalent to 70 percent of the total amount paid as wages to senior citizens subject to compliance or the pertinent provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.