Presidential commission for senior citizens » Manila Bulletin News



Erik Espina

By Erik Espina


The passing years are lyrical recollections, with futures drawn in silhouettes of optimism and prayers. Only the young see the impatience for thrills in what tomorrow gives. Silver-haired folk recognize  moments are like running streams of spring water; you dip your fingers, then it is gone. Aging, like the cherry blossom, is an irreversible continuum of dying. The phenomenon manifests in the gradual wrinkling of faces. Botox helps and surgery delays, but the gait alters with certain aches. An unsteady walk makes a cane or a wheelchair the better transport for what was an easy step. A hearing aid or lasic surgery is the badge of age. Glasses are an ageless support, even the very young wear them. It has been said: “Every aging person is our parent.” And “The passing of every old man is one more library lost.”

This is a foreword for my inviting former Senator Eddie Ilarde in a TV program I host on Global News Network (Tuesdays 8 p.m., Channel 8, Destiny Cable and 213 Sky). The topic discussed was dear to my heart: “Senior citizens.” A former member of the 8th Congress before Martial Law shut down the Senate, Ilarde was a victim of the infamous Plaza Miranda Bombing and, I assert, plotting. He had a story about an unscheduled visit early morning by the late Senator Ninoy Aquino on that day which he found odd. His afterthoughts are more revealing in our private conversations. Even in his hospital bed, he knew Marcos was not the culprit of the dastardly event. I do recall visiting him in Singian Hospital with my father (former Senator Rene Espina).

Now very much a senior citizen, Senator Ilarde, aches in his step due to the shrapnel of two grenades hurled by NPA partisans. His current concerns have moved to the age and travails of our fathers. I am quoting from a letter he wrote to President Rodrigo Duterte: “The greying of the world is quite simply the most significant population shift in history. The elderly will outnumber the young…Less babies are being born and individuals are living longer, adding 20 years to the average life expectancy. The UN tells the world that ‘older people require opportunities and support systems including income generation, social security and health care.’ Today most countries have stablished their own government agencies adopting the UN Principles for Older Persons.”

Part of the letter respectfully proposes a “lasting legacy for our people: love and concern for 13M seniors (and counting) by setting-up via an executive order a Presidential Commission for Senior Citizens to plan for the welfare and dignity of millions in our country.”

Such a development under this administration, would be most welcome!

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