Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Binay to Congress: Pass bill exempting elderly from eVAT


Original Story: http://www.tribune.net.ph/metro/20091223met1.html

Makati Mayor and United Opposition (UNO) president Jejomar Binay has urged Congress to pass a bill exempting senior citizens from the expanded value added tax (eVAT) to allow them to maximize their 20 percent discount on medicines and other benefits as provided by law.

Binay said with the 12 percent eVAT, the discount on medicines has been reduced to only 8 per cent. This defeats the intent of the Senior Citizens Act which provides discounts on purchases and services availed of by the elderly.

“The eVAT has long been a burden on our senior citizens, especially when it involves medicines. If we are to show our respect for the elderly, if we are to show that government really cares for the elderly, it is only proper for Congress to exempt them from the coverage of eVAT,” he said.

Binay added House Bill 6390 or the “Comprehensive Senior Citizens Act of 2009,” co-authored by Makati Second District Rep. Mar-Len Abigail Binay, was passed by the House in October. A counterpart bill, Senate Bill 3561, has been approved on second reading last Dec. 16.

Binay said he hopes Congress would finally approve a consolidated version of the bill when it resumes its session in January.

HB 6390 seeks to expand the benefits and privileges extended to senior citizens and exempt them from eVAT coverage. It also imposes stiff penalties on establishments that will not grant discounts to senior citizens.

“Our elderly citizens deserve to receive all the best services and benefits that government can offer,” he said, citing the benefits extended by the city government to its senior citizens that are beyond what is being offered by the national government.

“Ang ating mga senior ctizens ay nauna sa atin, yan ang mga naunang nagsikap, mga naunang nagtrabaho para buhayin ang kanilang mga pamilya. Marami sa kanila ay dumanas ng hirap para maitaguyod ang kanilang mga anak. Nakatulong din sila sa kanilang mga komunidad, kaya dapat tratuhin sila ng espesyal,” he said.

In Makati, senior citizens receive yearly cash allowances from the city government, enjoy free admission to movie houses and receive cakes on their birthdays. They also get the chance to visit tourist destinations as part of the “Lakbay Saya” program.

All senior citizens regardless of economic status are fully covered by the Yellow Card program which provides subsidized hospitalization and medical services. Through its Elderly Health Care Office, the city sends a mobile clinic to the homes of bed-ridden senior citizens to conduct check-ups.

Original Story: http://www.tribune.net.ph/metro/20091223met1.html

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