SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Office of Rep. Victor Yap (Second District, Tarlac)
June 23, 2020
Committee on Senior Citizens takes up Anti-Elder Abuse bills
The House of Representatives Special Committee on Senior Citizens today conducted a public hearing on bills providing additional protection for senior citizens who are survivor-victims of abuse.
The Committee, chaired by Rep. Francisco Datol. Jr. (Partylist, Senior Citizens) took up House Bills No. 65 (Rep. Victor A. Yap, Tarlac 2nd District), HB 1753 (Deputy Speaker Luis Raymund ‘Lray’ Villafuerte Jr.), HB 2212 (Rep. Sol Aragones) and HB 1504 (Reps. Alfredo Garbin and Elizaldy Co), HB 4406 (Reps. Eric Yap, Rowena Taduran, and Jocelyn Tulfo) and HB 5137 (Rep. Eric Olivarez), all proposing to provide additional protection for senior citizens against violence and abuse.
According to Rep. Victor Yap, the principal author, “the passage of this bill is most significant than ever because it addresses the lack of options for the elderly to address their grievances, especially in a time of a public health crisis such as the present. This bill will not only provide immediate assistance for the victim-survivors of abuse but will ultimately prevent this kind of violence to be further perpetrated.”
The bills define and enumerate acts of violence against the elderly and provides stiffer penalties against perpetrators of these acts of violence. These acts include physical abuse or the infliction of pain or injury resulting in bodily harm, psychological or emotional abuse causing mental distress, material exploitation through improper economic and financial abuse through acts that make the senior citizen financially dependent, and abandonment which endangers the health and welfare of the elderly.
In asserting the need for enacting this law, Yap emphasized that senior citizens because of their contribution to society are as much part of our fellow citizenry as the youth and it is incumbent upon the government to protect and promote their welfare especially those who have suffered and are continuously suffering from abuse.
The proposed legislation primarily intends to strengthen existing services being accorded to senior citizens by the government by providing immediate assistance for their personal safety and security through the proposed establishment of mandatory Seniors Citizen’s Help Desk in every baranggay in the country. This measure aims to curtail the increase of elder abuse against senior citizens by recognizing the urgency of elderly abuse and the need to prevent such violence at the soonest possible moment at the baranggay level. More importantly, the bill’s provisions on stiffer penalties will serve as a deterrent for the increasing violence against the elderly and will engender a safer and peaceful environment for senior citizens.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, older individuals are forced to be isolated with potential abusers due to the community quarantines resulting in an increase of elder abuse cases according to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). In these cases, elder abuse experiences range from physical, verbal, ridicule, discrimination and negligence. In an effort to stop this prevalence of violence and prevent future abuses against the elderly, the substitute bill is now being pushed for approval of the plenary.
Source: Office of Hon. Victor A. Yap (2nd District, Tarlac)