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Legarda calls for immediate creation of IRR for Expanded Senior Citizen’s Law

March 18, 2010

NP-NPC-LDP VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA YESTERDAY MET WITH THE LUZON SENIOR CITIZENS GROUP AND ENCOURAGED THEM TO BECOME INVOLVED IN CRAFTING THE IMPLEMENTING RULES AND REGULATION (IRR) OF THE RECENTLY PASSED EXPANDED SENIOR CITIZEN LAW.
Legarda, who principally authored and ushered into passage in the Senate along with Sen. Pia Cayetano’s Committee on Social Justice, said “This law is my tribute to Filipino senior citizens who have been and continue to be part of building our nation. It is a time-honored Filipino practice to take care of the elderly in their twilight years because our generation owes a lot to them and their hard work. That is the spirit behind this legislation. We should give the elderly what they deserve.”
Legarda called for a monitoring mechanism to ensure immediate creation of the IRR. “Our indigent senior citizens cannot afford the delay in discounts and benefits,” she said.
The Expanded Senior Citizens Act would give the elderly a full 20-percent discount on goods and services, as a result of being exempt from the expanded-value tax, on top of other benefits. The measure would also give indigent seniors and non-pensioners free medical insurance and disability assistance.
The R.A. 9994 is an amendment to the previous Senior Citizens Acts, namely, R.A. 7432 and 9257. it provides a 20% discount on specific sale of goods and services, namely:
o transportation services, hotels and similar lodging establishment, restaurants and recreation centers and purchase of medicine anywhere in the country;
o theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, carnivals and other similar places of culture, leisure, and amusement
The Expanded Senior Citizens’ Act (RA9994) was brought about because in reality, Senior Citizens were only enjoying an 8% discount on the value of the item or services purchased
o This was because the 12% VAT was carried over to the value of the item or services (and in effect offset from the 20% discount)
Legarda’s version Senate Bill No. was the only one among all the other Bills filed by the other Senators which called for the correction of the apparent circumvention of the original Senior Citizens Law.
More over, in order to correct the flaw that denied Senior Citizens from enjoying a FULL 20% discount, RA9994 EXPLICITLY declared that Senior Citizens were exempt from the payment of VAT.
In addition to the VAT exemption, the Expanded Act likewise granted additional DISCOUNT and other benefits to Senior Citizens on the following:
o on the professional fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care services and licensed professional health workers providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals
o on medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all prIvate hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health careservices
o the DOH shall administer free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal disease for indigent senior citizen patients (this was adopted from Legarda’s proposal under Senate Bill No.2154 and Manny Villar’s Senate Bill No. 1893)
o on funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens
o the grant of a minimum of five percent (5%) discount relative to the monthly utilization of water and electricity supplied by public utilities
o death benefit assistance of a minimum of Two thousand pesos (Php2,OOO.OO) shall be given to the nearest surviving relative of a deceased senior citizen
The 20% discount given to Senior Citizens may be claimed by the Private establishments from the government by way of tax credit (pass-on provision).