Pia Cayetano meets with members of the 'Abilidad, Hindi Edad
Coalition' after delivering her co-sponsorship speech on the
Anti-Age Discrimination Bill at the Senate on Tuesday, June 10.
Stop Age Discrimination!
A co-sponsorship speech by
Senator Pia S. Cayetano, 10 June 2014
SB No. 29 under Committee Report No. 38 entitled, Anti-age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 2013
Abilidad, hindi edad.
Mr. President, this is the battle cry of Filipino workers in the
country and beyond our shores, who have made a strong stand against
age discrimination in the workplace.
Our Constitution mandates that the State shall promote equality of
employment opportunities for all. Yet, whenever I go around the
country, people would walk up to me and share stories about how they
couldn’t land jobs despite their ability and willingness to work. As
it turns out, age discrimination was the culprit.
And true enough, if any senator here would open the classified ads to
check what jobs are available, he or she would see age requirements
specified for jobs that can be performed by both the young and old.
Age discrimination is one of the biggest barriers to employment in
this country, and yet there is no law to prohibit it. There is none in
our Labor Code; and until recently, it was not even on the policy
radar screen of the Department of Labor and Employment.
Mr. President, Senate Bill No. 29 under Committee Report No. 38
entitled, An Act Prohibiting the Discrimination on the Employment of
Any Individual on the Basis Merely of Age, seeks to precisely do that.
Its provisions apply to all employers including national and local
governments, labor contractors and even the trade unions themselves.
The Blas F. Ople Policy Center, a non-government organization and
other major labor groups such as the Trade Union Congress of the
Philippines, Federation of Free Workers, Alliance of Progressive
Labor, Partidong Manggagawa, and PSLINK, a federation of government
unions – have expressed full support for the passage of a law to
prohibit age discrimination in the workplace. They have even formed a
coalition – the “Abilidad, Hindi Edad” movement. In Mandaluyong City,
a member of that coalition, Councilor Jesse Cruz, filed a resolution
against age discrimination that was unanimously approved by the city
Ladies and Gentlemen, while we respect the prerogative of an employer
to choose the best fit for his or her company, their discretion is not
absolute. It must be tempered with the principle of fairness and equal
opportunity for all. Ability, rather than age, should be the test.
Unless the State intervenes through legislation, the exclusion of
capable workers will continue. How can we obtain an inclusive growth
when millions of Filipinos cannot even get past the security guard in
order to submit their resumes?
Moreover, Mr. President, the passage of Senate Bill No. 29 as
recommended in the report of the Senate labor committee will ease the
way for our overseas Filipino workers, mga bagong bayani, to get jobs
in our country, instead of constantly leaving because they are too old
to gain a foothold in our own workforce.
Kasama po natin ngayon sa gallery si Sheron Lumage, isang dating OFW
na mula sa Saudi Arabia. Isa siya sa hirap na hirap makahanap ng
trabaho sa kabila ng masigasig na pag-aaplay sa iba’t ibang kompanya.
Ang dahilan kung bakit di siya matanggap? Edad, hindi dahil sa kulang
Sheron, Mr. President, is only 38 years old.
The approval of Senate bill No. 29 will enable the Philippines to join
more than thirty other nations recognized around the world for
upholding the ILO’s convention on equal employment opportunities for
The enactment of Senate bill No. 29 will signify to our workers that
their skills are needed, and their productivity as gainfully assured
individuals is valued, by the State, and our society as a whole,
regardless of age. The sad truth, ladies and gentlemen, is that age
discrimination also affects younger workers – who are sometimes
discriminated against because of youth and appearance.
None of us are getting younger, Mr. President, although with today’s
technological advances, we can look much younger than our actual
years. However, the legal remedies for those seeking to work because
they have so much to offer in terms of skills and experience cannot be
cosmetic in nature – given the far-reaching implications that age
discrimination has on our economy and the financial capacities of
every Filipino household.
To be discriminated against due to a natural and unstoppable process
of ageing is to impose another glass ceiling that is even just as, or
even more difficult to break, than that of gender.
And if you are a woman who offered the prime years of her life looking
after the family, the burden of finding work after the age of forty
gets even heavier, thus forcing many of our female kababayans to risk
their lives and honor as domestic workers in the Middle East.
Age discrimination is also one of the factors why so many of our OFWs
choose to remain in war-torn Syria or are hesitant to leave Libya
despite the DFA’s Alert Level 3, despite serious threats to their
We need to pass this law, Mr. President, to level the playing field
and bring hope to those who have, due to age and nothing else, been
unfairly excluded from the job hiring process.
Let this be the Senate that will finally put an end to age
discrimination in the workplace.
Maraming salamat po!