Plenty of ads posted at job classified across newspapers and online job portals in the Philippines blatantly state the age boundary of applicants to qualify for a post.
While the country is extremely sensitive about racial discrimination like the Montreal–Philippines cutlery controversy, a planned ban on the hiring of Filipino maids in Hong Kong or when a celebrity doesn’t want to tan because ‘she would look like a Filipino,’ it’s a different story in the workplace. Applicants are filtered at the door; one must be below a certain age to get through an interview. And even when age isn’t mentioned in the ad, interviewers
It’s not like nobody has thought of ending age discrimination in the Philippine workplace. In 2013, Senator Pia Cayetano filed Senate Bill no. 29 which seeks to eliminate age discrimination but so far no hearing has been set yet. Meanwhile, the exodus of Filipino workers going abroad continues. About 3,000 Filipinos leave the country every day, formally adding to the growing list of so-called overseas Filipino workers (OFW). Although working abroad has its benefits but mostly it’s for economic reasons. By the time a worker steps into a foreign land, his or her family in the Philippines becomes vulnerable to various forms of challenges that could break the family apart when unattended properly.
As a basic unit of society, the family should become a focus of the government’s efforts in its quest to establish a healthy, prosperous country. Yet this aim gets set aside in favor of the financial windfall OFWs bring to the country. While it’s right to call Filipino workers abroad as heroes, it’s also unfair for them to sacrifice time with family just because a local employer told them they’re unqualified because of age. Or to put a euphemism to it, they’re told they’re overqualified for the job they applied for. Getting jobs should be about qualifications to do the job, regardless of age. No wonder the elderly population in places like Hong Kong or Singapore are empowered and prove their worth in society as they continue to get employment offers. In contrast, in the Philippines the elderly are relegated to the corner, getting all sorts of ailments.
Apparently, there are more pressing issues lawmakers are busy attending to and can’t find time to review a proposed law to ban age discrimination.
So we as citizens should not wait and be proactive in pushing the government to pass the law against age discrimination in the Philippines and help our country cultivate a culture of respect and equality.