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Angara pushes for anti-senior citizen abuse law

Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the passage of a bill that aims to put an end to any form of senior citizen abuse by providing stiffer penalties and strengthening institutional support for elderly victims of abuse.

"Respect for our elders has been one of the hallmarks of Filipino culture and society. Sadly, incidents of senior citizen abuse still persist and remain unaddressed," Angara said.

Today marks the last day of the Elderly Filipino Week, an annual celebration that emphasizes the important role that older persons play in nation building, which is held every first week of October.

Angara's Senate Bill 1012 seeks to deter any form of abuse against senior citizens by clearly defining what constitutes abuse and providing stern penalties.

Under SB 1012 or the Anti-Senior Citizen Abuse bill, senior citizen abuse refers to: 1) physical abuse; 2) sexual abuse; 3) psychological abuse; 4) economic abuse such as withdrawal of financial support and controlling or misusing their own money or properties; and, 5) neglect or failure to feed, provide shelter, health care and protection to the elderly.

Physical, sexual and psychological abuses will be penalized with six to 12 years imprisonment, while economic abuse with six months to six years imprisonment, and neglect with one to six months imprisonment.

"It is our duty to provide proper care and adequate protection for our over seven million senior citizens. Gaya ng batas na nagbibigay ng espesyal na proteksyon sa mga kabataan, dapat, mayroon din tayong batas na mangangalaga sa ating mga nakatatanda upang masigurong maiiwasan ang anumang uri ng pang-aabuso sa kanila," said Angara, one of the authors of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act and the Universal Social Pension bill.

His father, the late Senate President Edgardo Angara, is known as the "Father of the Senior Citizens Law" which grants discounts and other benefits to seniors.

According to the Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE), many elder abuses occur at home and family members are reported as main perpetrators.

SB 1012 mandates the establishment of a senior citizens help desk to provide immediate assistance to the victims of senior citizen abuse.

The measure also aims to provide institutional support including temporary shelters, counseling, psycho-social services and recovery, rehabilitation programs, and livelihood assistance.