By Mario Casayuran
Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ Go today commended the Department of Health (DOH) for including medically-prescribed vitamins and mineral supplements in the list of discounted health-related goods for senior citizens.
Go had appealed to the DOH to ensure the availability of medicines and other supplements needed by the elderly population amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III has signed Administrative Order (AO) No. 2012-0007-A, which amends the earlier AO 2012-0007 to include vitamins and minerals supplements which are medically prescribed by an attending physician for the prevention and treatment of diseases, illness, or injury in the scope of items entitled to 20 percent discount for senior citizens.
“Nararapat lamang po na maibigay sa ating senior citizens ang naturang benepisyo na maging discounted din po ang vitamins and mineral supplements na binibili nila,” Go said. (It is but right to give senior citizens discounts on vitamins and mineral supplements that they buy.)
The amendatory order is in compliance with Republic Act (RA) No. 9994, or commonly known as “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 201,’’ and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) which state that senior citizens are entitled to the grant of 20 percent discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of medicines and other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment, including vitamins and mineral supplements which are medically prescribed by an attending physician for prevention and treatment of diseases, illness, or injury.
Go, chairman of the Senate health and demography committee, welcomed the move of the health department, saying that the additional discount for senior citizens would promote their health and well-being, especially amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts cautioned that old people are particularly prone to catching the said disease.
“Sa gitna ng dinaranas na COVID-19 emergency ng ating bansa, malaking tulong at ginhawa po para sa ating senior citizens ang pagbibigay sa kanila ng discount para sa vitamins and minerals na karaniwan nilang iniinom,” Go said. (In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the DOH administrative order is a big help to senior citizens who take vitamins and mineral supplements regularly.
“We cannot afford to lose lives because of failure of senior citizens to buy affordable medicines,” Go emphasized.