The population aged 60 and over in the Philippines is projected to increase from 6.1% in 2005 to 9% in 2020, 13.6% in 2035 and 21% by 2050. There is an increasing need and demand for pensions across all socio-economic segments in the Philippines.
While there are a number of social assistance programs being implemented by welfare agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) as well as legislated senior citizen discounts, there is no real social pension scheme for poor older persons in the Philippines. Because social pensions – defined by HelpAge International as non-contributory pensions – do not exist in the Philippines, there is a serious gap in the provision of pension support for those who are ineligible for mandated government pension programs. The Coalition of Services of the Elderly (COSE) is actively lobbying for the passage of a bill in Congress and the Senate that would create a mandated means tested noncontributory fund for older people.
The Social Security System covers all private sector employees, domestic employees and all self-employed persons up to age 60 earning at least P1,000 a month earning. The Social Security System fund is generated from mandated and defined contributions based on salary ranges of private sector employees with employer counterparts for those not self-employed. However, contributory products are either not affordable (private pension providers) or not enough. Pension products are beyond the reach of microfinance clients with the exception of those who are in the highest loan cycles.
There are no fully satisfactory pension programs or products for the poor or for microfinance clients. MFIs in the Philippines are interested in implementing pension products for their clients/members. Poor people active in microfinance networks are willing and able to contribute to pension funds. The Pension & Development Network is investigating the needs of MFIs and banks in the Philippines to receive support in the development of micro pension schemes.