Press Release
January 19, 2010

Senate OKs VAT exemption for elderly on third reading
Pia lauds approval of 'Expanded Senior Citizens' bill

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today welcomed the Senate's approval on third reading of Senate Bill 3561, the proposed "Expanded Senior Citizens Act," which seeks to exempt the elderly from the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT).

"This is good news for our senior citizens who have been clamoring for the passage of this measure. By exempting them from the 12 percent VAT, our elderly will now be able to fully avail of the 20 percent senior citizens discount that was originally envisioned for them under the Senior Citizens Act (RA 7342)," said Cayetano, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Social Justice and principal sponsor and author of SB 3561.

She explained that the senior citizens discount has been effectively reduced to only eight percent since seniors were also required to pay the 12 percent VAT in their purchase of medicines, good and services.

The House of Representatives earlier passed its version of the VAT exemption measure, House Bill 6390, with Reps. Reynaldo Uy and Eduardo Zialcita as principal sponsor and author, respectively.

Cayetano expressed confidence that the bicameral version will be ironed out and ready for the President's signature before Congress adjourns on February 5.

The Senate has nominated Senators Edgardo Angara and Loren Legarda, along with Cayetano, to the bicameral conference committee that will reconcile the House and Senate versions of the measure.

Aside from VAT exemption, Cayetano's bill also mandates the Department of Health (DOH) to provide free vaccination against influenza virus pneumococcal disease for indigent senior citizen patients, and a death benefit assistance of two thousand pesos (P2,000) through the Department of Social Work and Development (DSWD).

Indigent senior citizens identified by the DSWD shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to one thousand five hundred (P1,500) to augment their daily subsistence and other medical needs. The bill also mandates the establishment of a "senior citizens ward" in every government hospital and the coverage of indigent senior citizens by the National Health Insurance Program of Philhealth.

The measure likewise calls on local government units to prioritize senior citizens for assistance in case of economic shocks, disasters and calamities, and to provide the, representation in the locality's Office for Senior Citizens Affairs.

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