Press Release
January 28, 2010


The House and Senate bicameral conference committee yesterday recommended approval by Congress of an Act increasing the benefits of senior citizens.

The committee decided to recommend approval by both houses of Congress of Senate Bill No. 3581, in consolidation with House Bill No. 6390. Senate Bill No. 3581, granting additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens, was principally authored by Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committee on health and demography.

Under the proposed Act, the senior citizen shall be entitled to a 20 percent discount and exemption from value added tax on the following:

(a) On the purchase of medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH).

(b) On the professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care services.

(c) On the professional fees of licensed professional workers providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies.

(d) On medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinic and home health care services,

(e) Death benefit assistance of a minimum of P2,000 to be given to the nearest surviving relative. (f) In the purchase of goods and services which are on promotional discount, the senior citizen can avail of the promotional discount or the discount, whichever is higher.

(g) Every government hospital shall establish a "senior citizens' ward" for the exclusive use of senior citizens who are in need of hospital confinement.

(h) Indigent senior citizens shall be entitled to a monthly stipend amounting to P500.00, which amount shall be subject to review every two years by Congress, in consultation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

(i) All indigent senior citizens shall be covered by the National Health Insurance Program of the Philhealth.

(j) Social safety assistance intended to cushion the effects of economic shocks, disasters and calamities shall be available for senior citizens, to be sourced from the disaster or calamity funds.

In filing the Senate bill, Senator Legarda cited Article 15, Sec. 4, of the Constitution which declares that "There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled women and children [in health development] -- that it is the duty of the family to take care of the elderly members while the state may design programs of social security for them."

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