In the fervent hope of ensuring the State’s constitutional mandate to prioritize the health of an increasing elderly population in the country, Senator Francis ‘Tol’ N. Tolentino recently filed a proposed bill that seeks to lay down a comprehensive nutrition program for senior citizens in a bid to strengthen the nation’s current nutritional framework.
Under Tolentino’s Senate Bill No. 1799 or the proposed “Comprehensive Senior Citizen Welfare Act,” the Department of Health (DOH) in coordination with local government units (LGUs), non-government organizations (NGOs) and people’s organization (POs) for senior citizens, shall institute a national health program and shall provide an integrated health service for the elderlies.
“Good nutrition is very essential in all age groups, most especially in the elderly. It provides the energy and nutrients that would help prevent or manage certain lifestyle diseases. Unfortunately, our government has somehow been remiss in providing this comprehensive nutritional support to our elderly,” Tolentino’s explanatory note read.
The program enshrined under SB 1799 shall train community-based health workers among senior citizens and health personnel to specialize in the geriatric care and health problems of senior citizens.
Tolentino stressed that despite the increased in the financial benefits and privileges implemented by the national government to the country’s ‘ageing’ population–consist of around 9.2-million people or around 8.5 percent of the Philippines’ total population–through the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 as well as the law which gives additional social pension for those in the indigent cluster, “majority of these financial benefits are just consumed by our senior citizens for the purchase of maintenance medicines.”
The bill also mandates the National Nutrition Council (NCC), in coordination with DOH and every LGUs in the country to prepare a comprehensive nutrition and wellness program for senior citizens which shall be disseminated and made available to every locality for the awareness of every senior citizen.
Under SB 1799, the LGUs–through their local health personnel–shall conduct regular visitation to every senior citizen within their jurisdiction to ensure that their elderly constituents are able to consume a healthy diet in accordance with the comprehensive nutrition and wellness program and appropriate to their health condition.
“At this point in time, nutrition plays a very crucial role and requires special attention as Filipinos reach old age,” the senator added.