Press Release
February 15, 2010

On signing of Expanded Senior Citizens Act
Villar: Why prolong elders' agony?

Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Sen. Manny Villar yesterday urged for the immediate signing of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 in order to end the agony of elderly Filipinos who have been clamoring for decent benefits from the government.

"Our elders are forced to take to the streets in order to press the President to urgently sign the bill that will benefit them tremendously," Villar said.

"Bakit natin pinahihirapan at pinaghihintay nang matagal ang senior citizens? Imbes na sila ay nagpapahinga na lamang ay napipilitan pa silang mag-rally para makuha ang benepisyo mula sa gobyerno," he added.

Around 1,000 senior citizens went to Mendiola Bridge in Manila on Monday to appeal to President Arroyo to hasten the signing of the measure that will exempt them from the 12 percent value added tax (VAT). The exemption would enable the elderly to fully avail themselves of the 20-percent senior citizens' discount as provided for under the Senior Citizens Act or Republic Act 7342.

Villar added that Congress prioritized the bill so that over four million Filipino elders can already enjoy the numerous benefits and privileges under the legislation.

"Every single day that the bill remains unsigned is a big loss for our senior citizens particularly those who have to buy medicines on a daily basis," said Villar.

Covered by the measure are medicines, influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, and other medical supplies, accessories and equipment; professional fees of attending physicians and licensed professional health workers, medical and dental services, and diagnostic and laboratory fees; actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility vehicles; actual transportation fare for domestic and air transport services and sea shipping vessels; utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments; admission fees in theaters, cinema houses, concert halls; funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens.

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