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Productivity for all ages

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan recently noted that as more senior citizens have ventured back to the job market due to the harder times wrought by the high prices of food and other basic services, the private sector should provide them with opportunities and training so they could adapt to potential employment especially in the digital space and agriculture.

“Life expectancy has been increasing in many societies, including us (the Philippines)… In countries like Japan or South Korea where life expectancy has increased, the society has opened up opportunities for the age-old members of their population,” Balisacan noted in a press briefing this week.

The head of state planning agency, the National Economic and Development Authority, said the Philippines would have to follow suit in giving opportunities to seniors aged 65 and above as they remained “very productive.” He said employers could tap seniors’ competencies and offer jobs attuned to their educational attainment.

His call came after the Philippine Statistics Authority latest labor force survey showed that even retired senior citizens were being force to look for jobs because of the need for a bigger family income to meet the unabated increase in consumer prices. The labor force participation rate for those aged 65 and above increased to 38.2 percent from 34.9 percent last May. In the PSA survey, 65 percent of the respondents said they looked for regular jobs because they wanted more earnings to help them cope with rising prices.

Aside from dealing with inflation, which rose for a fifth straight month to 6.4 percent in July, Balisacan said the government should also facilitate the creation of more quality jobs for all.

“I suspect old guys like me can also be trained in digital… we can do that,” the NEDA chief said. “I think that the trick here is just to open up the possibilities, and let the people choose what best fits them.”

It would be good for government and the private sector to accommodate everyone who wants to be productive and earn income, even the senior citizens and retirees who are still seeking opportunities, regardless of whether their motivations for seeking employment is a cost of living crisis or not. As life expectancies increase, the same should be true for opportunities to be productive members of society.*

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