National Commission for Senior Citizens (NCSC) Philippines

Established in 2019 under the Office of the President, the National Commission for Senior Citizens (NCSC) serves as the Philippines’ advocate for its older population. With a focus on promoting their rights and well-being, the NCSC plays an important role in safeguarding the interests of Filipino senior citizens and ensuring they receive the support they deserve.

Credits: NCSC website

Who are Considered as Senior Citizens?

Senior citizens are individuals who have reached a certain age, typically 60 years old and above, and are considered to be in the later stages of their lives. They have contributed significantly to society through their work, experiences, and wisdom.

It is a must for everyone, including younger generations, to have a clear understanding of the rights and privileges that senior citizens are entitled to. This is especially important since the PSA has reported that this population group made up 8.5 percent (9.22 million) of the household population in 2020.

screengrab_PSA
Credits: PSA

This understanding promotes inclusivity, respect, and empathy towards older individuals. By recognizing and upholding their rights, we can create a society that values and supports the well-being of senior citizens.

Additionally, understanding their privileges allows us to provide the necessary assistance and that they receive the care and support they deserve.

Overview of the National Commission for Senior Citizens (NCSC)

Background and establishment
The NCSC was established in 2019 under the Office of the President in the Philippines. It was created to address the growing needs and concerns of the country’s aging population. The establishment of the NCSC reflects the government’s recognition of the importance of promoting the well-being and rights of senior citizens.

ncsc logo
Credits: NCSC / Facebook

Role and responsibilities of the NCSC
The NCSC advocates for the rights and welfare of senior citizens.

  • It is responsible for formulating policies, programs, and projects that aim to improve the quality of life for older individuals.
  • The commission also collaborates with various government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholders to promote the effective implementation of these initiatives.
  • Additionally, the NCSC conducts research and gathers data to better understand the needs and challenges faced by senior citizens, enabling them to develop targeted solutions.

Importance of the NCSC in promoting the well-being of senior citizens
The NCSC holds significant importance in promoting the well-being of senior citizens in the Philippines.

  • By actively advocating for their rights and welfare, the commission helps maintain that senior citizens are treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
  • Through its initiatives, the NCSC aims to address the unique needs and challenges faced by older individuals, such as healthcare access, financial security, and social inclusion.
  • By promoting the well-being of senior citizens, the NCSC contributes to creating a society that values and supports its aging population, fostering a more inclusive and compassionate community for all.

Rights and Privileges of Senior Citizens

Senior citizens in the Philippines, defined as residents aged 60 or older, are entitled to a range of benefits and privileges under Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Acts Nos. 9994 and 11916. Here’s a comprehensive summary:

  1. Discounts and VAT Exemption: Senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount and exemption from value-added tax on medicines, vaccines, medical supplies and equipment, professional fees of attending physicians and licensed health professionals, medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees, fares for land, air, and sea transportation, services in hotels, restaurants, recreation centers, admission fees for theaters, cinemas, and other entertainment venues, and funeral and burial services.
  2. Income Tax Exemption: Senior citizens earning minimum wage are exempted from individual income tax.
  3. Utility Discounts: They receive a minimum of 5% discount on their monthly utility bills (electricity and water), provided the account is in their name and consumption does not exceed certain limits.
  4. Training Fee Exemption: Exemption from training fees for socioeconomic programs.
  5. Free Medical Services: Free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in government facilities, including free vaccination against influenza and pneumococcal diseases for indigent senior citizens.
  6. Educational Assistance: Educational assistance for post-secondary, tertiary, vocational, and technical education, including scholarships, grants, financial aids, and other incentives.
  7. Retirement Benefits Review: Regular review and potential upgrading of retirement benefits from government and private sectors to promote sustainability and responsiveness.
  8. Special Discounts and Express Lanes: Special discounts in special programs for basic commodities and express lanes in commercial and government establishments.
  9. Death Benefit Assistance: A minimum death benefit of Php 2,000 for the nearest surviving relative of a deceased senior citizen.
  10. Government Assistance includes:
    • Employment Support: Matching services for senior citizens seeking employment, with incentives for private entities employing them.
    • Education Programs: Access to formal and nonformal education through programs instituted by DepED, TESDA, and CHED.
    • Health Programs: Integrated health service for senior citizens, including training for health workers in geriatric care.
    • Social Services: Discounts on utility consumption for senior citizens centers and group homes, social and self-enhancement services, after-care and follow-up services, neighborhood support services, and substitute family care.
    • Housing: Inclusion in national shelter programs for special housing needs.
    • Public Transport Access: Assistance programs for senior citizens to access public transport facilities.
    • Foster Care Incentives: Incentives for individuals or institutions caring for or establishing homes for senior citizens.
  11. Additional Government Assistance:
    • Social Pension: Monthly stipend for indigent senior citizens to augment their subsistence and medical needs.
    • Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage: Coverage for indigent senior citizens under the national health insurance program.
    • Social Safety Nets: Assistance during economic shocks, disasters, and calamities, including food, medicine, and financial aid for domicile repair.

NCSC Core Programs

The NCSC offers a range of core programs to address the needs and concerns of the elderly population in the Philippines. These programs are designed to promote their rights, well-being, and overall quality of life.

core programs
Screengrab taken from the NCSC website

Let’s take a closer look at each of these core programs:

  1. Senior Citizens’ Unit for Rights Enforcement: This program focuses on ensuring that the rights of senior citizens are protected and enforced. It aims to address issues such as discrimination, abuse, and neglect, and provides legal assistance and support to seniors who may face challenges in accessing their rights.
  2. Wellness, Health, Emergency Response, and Benefits Division: This division is dedicated to promoting the health and well-being of senior citizens. It provides access to healthcare services, emergency response systems, and benefits such as discounts on medicines and medical services.
  3. Senior Citizens’ Action for Development & Nation-building: This program encourages the active participation of senior citizens in community development and nation-building activities. It recognizes the valuable contributions that seniors can make and provides opportunities for them to engage in meaningful activities that benefit society.
  4. Social Pension, Centenarian Benefits, Support to Disabled: The NCSC offers social pension programs to provide financial assistance to indigent senior citizens. It also recognizes and celebrates centenarians, providing them with special benefits and recognition. Additionally, the NCSC provides support to disabled senior citizens, ensuring that their specific needs are addressed.
  5. Risk Assessment and Security Management Unit: This unit focuses on assessing and managing the risks faced by senior citizens, particularly in terms of their safety and security. It works to create a safe environment for seniors and implements measures to protect them from potential risks and threats.
  6. Programs, Plans, and Legislative Liaison: The NCSC develops and implements various programs and plans to address the specific needs of senior citizens. It also serves as a liaison between the commission and legislative bodies, advocating for policies and legislation that benefit the elderly population.
  7. Inter-Agency Coordination: The NCSC collaborates with other government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and stakeholders to create a coordinated and comprehensive approach to addressing the needs of senior citizens. This coordination helps in the effective implementation of programs and services.
  8. Information Management and Information Communications Technology: This program focuses on utilizing information management systems and technology to enhance the delivery of services to senior citizens. It promotes efficient data management, communication, and accessibility of information for both the commission and the elderly population.
  9. Participation, Communication, and Education: The NCSC promotes the active participation of senior citizens in decision-making processes and community activities. It also facilitates communication and information dissemination to keep seniors informed about their rights, benefits, and available services. Additionally, the commission provides educational programs and resources to empower seniors with knowledge and skills.

Through these core programs, the NCSC strives to create an inclusive and supportive environment for senior citizens, ensuring that they are able to enjoy their rights, access essential services, and actively contribute to society.

Summary

In conclusion, the National Commission for Senior Citizens (NCSC) protects the rights and well-being of the older population in the Philippines since its establishment in 2019.

Under the Office of the President, the NCSC has played a vital role in safeguarding the interests of Filipino senior citizens and ensuring they receive the support they deserve.

By focusing on promoting their rights and well-being, the NCSC has made significant strides in improving the lives of older individuals in the country.

Through its efforts, the NCSC has demonstrated a commitment to creating a society that values and respects its senior citizens.

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