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Loren Urges PGMA to Sign New Senior Citizens Law

February 12, 2010

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA TODAY URGED PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL ARROYO TO SIGN THE EXPANDED SENIOR CITIZEN’S LAW, WHICH LOREN PRINCIPALLY AUTHORED AND USHERED INTO PASSAGE IN THE SENATE.
Loren said this in response to the recommendation of the Department of Finance (DOF) for Malacanang to veto the bill due to foreseen revenue losses. Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the bicameral version would result in revenue losses of P1.68 billion and that it would only “complicate” the implementation of the expanded value added tax (EVAT).
Loren strongly opposed this recommendation, saying that the law is “only what the elderly deserve.”
“This is not a new incentive. The Expanded Senior Citizen’s Law only corrects the discrepancy caused by the EVAT, which effectively cuts the original 20% senior citizens’ discount to 8%. We are only correcting the loophole as alleged by senior citizens who felt shortchanged by the implementation of EVAT. The new law restores it back to the full 20% discount which was mandated by the original Senior Citizen’s Act,” she said.
Loren, who principally authored the law, said that “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.”
The Senior Citizens Act (RA-7432) and the Expanded Senior Citizens Act (RA-9257) grant benefits and special privileges to the elderly, including:
• Exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) provided under the National Internal Revenue Code on the sale of goods and services from all establishments. They shall also be given a twenty percent (20%) discount on the purchase of medicines; on the professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, and outpatient clinics; on medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals and medical facilities, and outpatient clinics; in actual fare for land transportation, domestic air transport services and sea shipping; on the utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers; and on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, carnivals and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement.
• Exemption from the payment of individual income taxes Senior citizens who are considered minimum wage earners.
• Free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal disease for indigent senior citizen patients through the DOH
• Throughout the country, there shall be established a “senior citizens ward” in every government hospital. This geriatric ward shall be for the exclusive use of senior citizens who are in need of hospital confinement by reason of their health conditions.
• Indigent senior citizens identified by the DSWD shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to one thousand five hundred pesos (P1,500) to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs.
Loren’s bill to expand the tax exemption for senior citizens has been approved in the recent bi-cameral conference of Congress and will then be sent to the Office of the President for signing into law.