September 11, 2023, Carmona City - With influenza ranking as one of the top causes of mortality for senior citizens, various government agencies, medical groups, and civil society organizations have joined forces in Carmona City for the Raising Awareness on Influenza to Support Elderlies (RAISE) coalition in celebration of Grandparent’s Day. The newly chartered city emphasized how vital vaccination is in their efforts to take care of their senior citizens, and that they were proudly joining RAISE in calling for the revision of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act to provide more free flu vaccinations for all senior citizens in the country.

The event kicked off by providing free flu vaccines and COVID-19 booster shots to four hundred thirty three senior citizens of Carmona City. Dr. Lulu Bravo, RAISE co-convenor and Philippine Foundation for Vaccination (PFV) Executive Director, highlighted the urgency of providing free flu vaccines to senior citizens. Dr. Bravo emphasized, “Yung trangkaso kagaya ng COVID, kapag tumama sa elderly ay mas mataas ang tyansa sa iba't ibang sakit, dahil sila ay nasa vulnerable age. Makatulong ang mga bakunang ito to save 24 million lives. Ganon po ang inaasahan natin sa mga senior citizens: malusog, nasa labas ng bahay.” 

Usec. Eric Tayag from the Department of Health expressed their enthusiasm towards the vaccination program, noting that senior citizens' vaccination is just as important as the routine childhood programs. "Malapit na po ang ating bansa sa ageing population, katunayan may mga batas tayo na nagbibigay ng proteksyon at sinisiguro ang kapakanan ng mga senior citizens," said Usec Tayag.

Mayor Dahlia Loyola of Carmona City added, “We are happy to have received our flu vaccines from the Department of Health, which augments our local budget to serve even more lolos and lolas here in Carmona. Nawa’y mas marami pang lugar ang maabot at matulungan ng RAISE coalition upang sa ganoon ay mas marami pa tayo maprotektahan laban sakit na ito. Patuloy pong pinapaabot ng LGU Caromona ang aming taos pusong suporta sa RAISE coalition sa kanilang adhikain.”

Dr. Maria Beatrix Duzon, representative from DOH-4A Center for Health Development emphasized, “It's our time to give our thanks to our beloved senior citizens. Ibababa po naming ang lahat ng mga bakunang nabili. Dito sa carmona nasa 6,500 plus na ang nabakunahan, naway mas mapataas pa natin ito.”

The RAISE coalition has also garnered support from the Senior Citizens Partylist, represented by Ding Latoja, Deputy Vice President of the Senior Citizens Association. Latoja, emphasized “Hindi po nag mimintis ang ating senior citizen partylist sa pagbibigay ng vaccines. Yun po ang senior citizens partylist, tumutulong sa lahat. Health is more important than wealth. Basta senior bawal magkasakit. The Senior Citizens partylist is always in support of PFV.”


With the successful programs of the RAISE coalition this Grandparent’s Day, its vision extends even further. The coalition will be working with more LGUs and legislative champions this year, striving for a truly universal healthcare system that provides health services to all citizens at no cost. This collaborative endeavor underscores the unwavering commitment to ensure a healthier and more secure future for senior citizens.

Rising to the Challenges of Flu Vaccination Acceptance: The RAISE Coalition

The Raising Awareness on Influenza to Support Elderlies (RAISE) Coalition is a multi-stakeholder group organized by the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination with Lead Convenors namely: Dr. Rontgene Solante, Dr. Maria Rosario Capeding, and Dr. Lulu Bravo, that takes a whole-of-society approach to improving the health outcomes of our beloved Lolos and Lolas.

The COVID pandemic helped spotlight the importance of vaccination in protecting our most vulnerable against infectious diseases. Still, many Filipino families are not protected from the flu. As we were transitioning towards a post-pandemic, health experts warned that such infectious diseases remained a threat for unvaccinated senior citizens – with three times increased risk of heart attack and stroke in the first two weeks of infection.

In late 2022, the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination spearheaded a meeting with more than one hundred leaders of other medical associations, local government units, civil organizations, legislative champions, and the Department of Health (DOH). This fruitful discussion led to the creation of the RAISE Coalition and gained support from all sectors to push for systemic improvements for the country’s flu response.

The Coalition was formally launched in partnership with the Pasay City Local Government Unit, alongside the DOH, the Senior Citizens’ Partylist, the National Commission of Senior Citizens, and civil society organization Bayan Bakuna. This was just the beginning for the group, who plans to bring their vaccine advocacy to more areas around the country, while continuing the call for the amendment of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 in a bid to provide free flu vaccines to all senior citizens nationwide.

While the proposed amendment is underway on its third reading following its approval from the House of Representatives Committee, the RAISE Coalition has also reached out to concerned agencies to improve the coverage rates of the government’s current existing Flu public vaccination program. The call to discuss such measures has already gained positive responses from the DOH, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), National Commission for Senior Citizens (NSCS), and Civil Organization Bayan Bakuna.

Soon, this whole-of-society approach will benefit Filipino communities nationwide, with these stakeholders agreeing to develop a comprehensive plan and translate it into a Joint Memorandum of Circular to ensure that implementation of flu vaccination for all is well guided.

Who We Are

The RAISE Coalition is a group of organizations and individuals with the common goal of protecting senior citizens from influenza and promoting their overall health and well-being through cooperation with the government in the Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Response and advocate legislation to widen the coverage of the elderly health benefits

Where We Are Now

In 2010, Philippines developed the National Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan which has specific actions to strengthening the pandemic influenza vaccination

Policy on vaccination among senior citizens is in place, with Article 11, Section 4 of Republic Act 9994 otherwise known as Expanded Senior Citizens Act mandates the DOH to procure Influenza Vaccine to be administered for free to indigent senior citizens. 

Currently, both Legislative Chambers (Congress and Senate) are supporting the expansion of Influenza immunization to cover all senior citizens 

Globally, Flu vaccine manufacturing is transitioning into enhanced formulation for better protection to ensure that elderlies are well protected especially during outbreak and pandemic

What We Want to Achieve

Establish a greater voice for influenza immunization among elderlies through multi stakeholder collaboration of scientific experts, government and non-government organizations, civic organizations and patients’ groups, championing equitable access to vaccines not only to indigent group but to all senior citizens

Key Initiatives to Mobilize the Coalition

Orientation with member organizations to align on the coalition’s strategic roadmap

Launch of Coalition, Press Conferences Media engagement, Pledges of Support and Commitment

Engagements with legislators for passing of bills and support for budget appropriations

Consolidated efforts of convenors and supporters to execute awareness campaign

Possible collaboration with Senior Citizens’ Partylist for the proposed National Center for Geriatric Health and Mobile House-to-House Vaccination

RAISE Community Outreach to support the Department of Health Flu vaccination roll out at Local Government Units

Collaboration with the Department of Health in the Flu Pandemic Preparedness Plan

Quarterly meetings and regular insighting/workshops for updates and discuss programs that will further increase the recognition of the coalition and encourages participation 

Our Partner Organizations