Following his recent appeal to ensure the availability of medicines and other supplements needed by the elderly population amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go on Wednesday, May 6, commended the Department of Health for amending an administrative order which provides for the guidelines granting 20% discount to senior citizens on their health-related goods.
AO No. 2012-0007-A, signed and issued by Health Secretary Francisco Duque III, amends the earlier AO 2012-0007 to include vitamins and minerals supplements which are medically prescribed by an attending physician for prevention and treatment of diseases, illness, or injury in the scope of items entitled to 20% 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.
“Ito po ay nakasaad sa batas kaya dapat lamang na amyendahan ang naunang AO na naipasa ng DOH ukol dito,” he added.
The amendatory order is in compliance with Republic Act No. 9994, or commonly known as “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010”, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations which state that senior citizens are entitled to the grant of twenty percent (20%) 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.
The new AO mentions that “DOH AO No. 2012-007 did not provide guidelines for the grant of the 20% discount and VAT exemption on the purchase of vitamins and mineral supplements despite the clear language and mandate of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9994.” Hence, the DOH decided on the issuance of the amendment.
Go welcomes the move of the health department, saying that the additional discount for senior citizens will promote their health and well-being, especially amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Health experts caution 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.
The Senator also urged the government to continue to ensure the proper implementation of RA No. 9994, emphasizing its role in promoting the health and wellness of the country’s elderly population.
“Siguraduhin natin na magagamit ng mga senior citizens ang kanilang mga benepisyo base sa batas na ito lalong lalo na sa pagbili nila ng medisina na makakatulong na mapanatili ang kanilang maayos na kalusugan, lalo na ngayong may COVID-19,” the Senator explained.
“We cannot afford to lose lives because of failure of senior citizens to buy affordable medicines,” the Senator also emphasized.