Press Release
November 4, 2006


Senator Edgardo J. Angara today strongly denounced the imposition by some pharmacies of a 12% value-added tax (VAT) on the sale of medicines to senior citizens, and said it is a clear violation of the Senior Citizens Law. The VAT is imposed on most goods and services, including medicines.

"At this point in their lives, health is perhaps the most important concern of the elderly. Senior citizens are entitled by law to a 20% discount on the price of medicines anywhere in the country and can avail themselves of free medical and dental services in government establishments anywhere in the country," he said.

"However, the imposition of VAT on the senior citizens discount, in effect, prevents the elderly from fully enjoying the benefits mandated by law. They are instead able to avail of only an 8% discount on medicines. That is not what the law entitles them," continued Angara, who in 1992, authored and sponsored the Senior Citizen's Law which grants benefits and special privileges to the Filipino elderly.

Angara said that while it is the duty of the family to take care of its elderly members, it is the State's role to design programs of social security for them.

"All throughout our youth, we work hard and save up for a comfortable retirement. We look forward to the day when we could watch our grandchildren play and devote ourselves to activities beyond the rigors of labor," he said.

Angara continued, "we owe it to our elderly, who in their earlier days have made valuable contributions to the country, to assure them of a comfortable life in their twilight days. In fact, many of them continue to take part in nation-building through social and community work. Hence, it is only just that what the right hand has given to senior citizens must not be taken from them by the left hand."

Recently, Angara met with Finance Secretary Teves and BIR Commissioner Buag, together with Federation of Senior Citizens Association of the Philippines (FESCAP) National President Marcelino dela Cruz, Secretary General Jose Ordonez, NCR President Jorge Banal and other officials, to review and amend the BIR interpretation which imposes the 12% VAT on the senior citizens discount. Both Secretary Teves and Commissioner Buag were sympathetic with and supportive of the senior citizens' position.

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