Friday, August 26, 2011

ADA Preparatory Meeting

Thirty-five (35) OPA leaders coming from the different parts of Metro Manila and nearby regions attended the preparatory meeting for Age Demands Action (ADA) on August 15, 2011 at Coalition of Services of the Elderly, Inc. (COSE) office. Identifying priority issues for ADA campaign this year; details of the preparation for October 1, 2011 meeting with the policy makers and the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD); and identifying the ADA spokesperson (coordinator) in the Philippines were the agendas discussed. The meeting lasted for three hours – from 9:00AM to 1:00PM.

The major discussion was centered on how the social pension is being implemented at present. Based on the observations, the older people felt the new law is not well implemented especially on Social Pension. Recent research that has been carried out by the older people on “Poorest of the Poor Older People” in the communities revealed that these poorest of the poor among the poor older people are not on the list of pensioners.

Leaders expressed doubts about the accuracy of the data of the social pensioners of DSWD, the government’s lead agency in implementing the social pension.

The older people decided that their main demands this year would be:

  1. To ask the government to improve their data on who is actually supposed to be qualified on the list of pensioners.
  2. They want the government to suspend the implementation of social pension until the government can come up with credible data or list of the social pensioners maximizing the full participation of the older people associations.
The tag line of their Demand "SUSPEND SOCIAL PENSION IF IT DOES NOT GO TO THE POOREST OF THE POOR" (This statement appears to draw attention of the media because they were the ones who pushed for the law and are now calling for its suspension.)

The participants also identified the older person spokesperson, Mr. Epifanio Corres, 79 years old. He was not present in the meeting but will attend the meeting on August 17, 2011.

The leaders discussed in detail how to go about the ADA activity; leaders will gather data on those with a social pension and those who do not have one. They will meet and talk with some key people in their local governments especially those involved in implementing the social pension - secretary of DSWD and Senator Pia Cayetano, author of Social Pension law on October 1, 2011.

The meeting was presided over by the Mr. Dioscoro Benalla, President of the Confederation of Older People’s Associations of the Philippines (COPAP). Overview of ADA objective was presented by Mr. Fransiskus Kupang, Executive Director of COSE.

Age Demands Action is funded by: