“Pensyon para kay lola at lolo, hindi kulong para kay apo”

This was the call of a panel of youth and children’s rights advocates and senior citizens groups in a press conference on Monday, supporting the bill to provide universal social pension for senior citizens.

Akbayan Partylist spokesperson Gio Tingson, the Coalition for the Services of the Elderly (COSE), and several other groups urged congress to prioritize support of Senate Bill No. 2138, or the “Lingap Para kay Lolo at Lola Act” filed by Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros, instead of lowering the minimum age of criminal responsibility.

“Imbes na ibaba ang minimum age of criminal responsibility sa bansa, ang dapat atupagin ng kongreso ay itaas ang benepisyo ng ating mga senior citizens sa pamamagitan ng isang universal social pension fund,” Gio Tingson, who was formerly the National Youth Commission chair, said.

If passed into law, the bill seeks to create a social pension system which grants a monthly stipend to all senior citizens, unlike the current means-based system where only those considered as indigent senior citizens can receive government assistance.

“‘We hit two birds with one stone’, ika nga. We increase the benefits of all senior citizens and lessen the number of children in conflict with the law,” Tingson added.

Tingson also warned of moves to settle on 12 years old as the age of criminal responsibility.

“As former NYC Chair, nanawagan din ako sa publiko na bantayan ng maigi ang deliberasyon ng panukalang batas na ibaba ang MACR sa 12 mula sa kasalukuyang 15,” Tingson said.

“Ganito na ba tayo kalupit? Namimili na ba tayo kung sinong mga bata ang dapat alagaan at sino ang dapat isakripisyo ng lipunan? The sustainable solution to the problem of children in conflict with the law is the full implementation and funding of the Juvenile Justice Welfare Law,” Tingson ended. 

The panel is joined by Confederation of Older Person Association of the Philippines, Aksyon sa Pensyon Coalition, and Child Rights Network. ###