Partylist lawmakers have moved to lower the senior citizen age from the current 60 to 56 years.
"Established facts show that at age 56, age-related ailments and other physical limitations are already experienced, thus benefits and special privileges are but necessary," AKO-Bicol partylist Reps. Rodel Batocabe, Alfredo Garbin Jr. and Christopher Co pointed out.
The lawmakers are joint authors of HB 529 entitled "An Act to reduce the Senior Citizen age from sixty (60) to fifty-six (56), further amending Republic Act 7432, as amended, otherwise known as 'An Act to Maximize the Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges and for Other Purposes.'"
2010 statistics would show that senior citizens made up 6.8% of the total household population in the country and, considering the proposed age reduction, an addition of not more than three million members will come from the 56-59 age group or equivalent to about three percent of the total household population, they said.
"Consequently, the proposed additional members, more than half of whom are considered as heads of household, and the personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines who are separated from service due to the set mandatory age of retirement of 56 years, will be provided with the same benefits and privileges as enjoyed by those under existing regular retirement system," the authors added.
Relative to this, the lawmakers also earlier had filed HB 136 which seeks to have an optional retirement age of 56 years of age for all employees in the public and private sector.
Section 3 of HB 136 provides that "All employees in the government and private sector, regardless of their position, designation or status and irrespective of the method by which their wages are paid, upon reaching the age of fifty-six (56) shall be eligible for retirement benefits under governing laws."
"Aside from the obvious benefits of reducing the retirement age to their physical and professional careers, the reduction harmonizes the retirement age across all government employees as well as private employees," they explained.
They noted that at present, the mandatory retirement age for the police and the AFP is 56 while other government employees still need to work for more years (65 years old as mandatory retirement age).
"The lower retirement age ultimately helps the bureaucracy, as it hastens the turnover of government positions to young professional, making way for the infusion of fresh blood in public service," they added.
The lawmakers noted the countless cases involving public officers who emphasize the need of a young workforce in the government to inject new perspectives and insight into the government ranks.
"It will also create open more employment opportunities for those seeking employment in the government and a chance to serve the country," the authors said.