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Expanded Senior Citizens Bill
« on: January 28, 2010, 10:02:28 AM »
By Jelly F. Musico

The Senate ratified Wednesday night the bicameral conference committee (BCC) report on the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act,” seeking to exempt the elderly from paying the 12 percent value added tax (VAT).

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri said the ratification is part of the Senate promise to finish all the priorities measures before the sine die adjournment next week.

Composed of Senate and House members, the BCC approved the reconciled version of the measure last Wednesday.

The “Expanded Senior Citizens Act” will be forwarded to Malacanang for the President’s signature.

The bill will allow senior citizens to fully enjoy the 20 percent discount as the VAT exemption will be applied to medicines and essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment; fees of attending physicians; medical, dental fees and diagnostic and laboratory fees;

Fares for buses, jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, shuttle services, public railways, domestic air transport and other vessels; utilization of services in hotels, restaurants and similar establishments; admission fees in cinemas, theaters and other places of culture, leisure and amusement;

And funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens.

In addition, indigent senior citizens will be given a monthly stipend of P500 which will be subject to the periodic review of Congress in coordination with the Department of Social Work and Development.

In case of death of an indigent senior citizen, an amount of P2,000 will also be awarded to his or her nearest kin as death benefit assistance.

Senior citizens may also enjoy a five percent discount on their water and electric bills on the condition that the utilities are named under the senior citizen residing in the household, and that the consumption for electricity and water should be below 100 kilowatt-hours and 30 cubic meters per month, respectively.

The measure likewise expands the coverage of penalties for establishments that refuse to grant the mandated benefits.

Violating establishments including their owners, managers and personnel may be fined a penalty of not less than P10,000 but not more than P50,000, or imprisonment of not less than a month but not more than six months. (PNA)
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