Signing of IRR for RA 9944 signals full tax exemption on food, medicines for 6 million senior citizens
Tacloban City (June 19) -- About 6 million senior citizens of the country stand to enjoy the full benefits and privileges set for them as the Department of Social Welfare and Development and non-government agencies signed the rules and regulations implementing Republic Act 9944 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 which was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on February 15, 2010.
Among the benefits and privileges include the grant of 20 percent discount and exemption from value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of goods and services.
Another benefit is the five (5%) percent discount on electric and water consumption provided that the individual meters for the utilities are registered in the name of the senior citizen and that monthly consumption should not exceed 100 kilowatt hours of electricity and 30 cubic meters of water.
The poor senior citizens will also enjoy free vaccination against the influenza virus and pneumococcal disease.
They are also entitled to P2,000 death benefit assistance and monthly social pension of P500 for indigent older persons.
DSWD Secretary Celia Yangco clarified that the new VAT-exemption of discounted senior citizens purchases would require the issuance of new Revenue Regulations by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), for approval of the Department of Finance (DoF).
The medical or health-related privileges, on the other hand, whether discounted or for free and the discounts on purchase of goods and services from leisure and recreation centers, should be subjected to the supplemental guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health (DoH) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government, respectively, within 30 days from the effectivity of the IRR.
The discounts on electric and water utilities should also be covered by supplemental guidelines issued by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewerage System and the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA), respectively, six months after the effectivity of the IRR.
Secretary Yangco added that the monthly social pension of P500 for indigent senior citizens shall be subject to DSWD guidelines which shall include the development of criteria for identification and selection of beneficiaries, the mechanisms for establishing a database, the system for delivery or release of the benefits, as well as monitoring and evaluation to facilitate the implementation of this additional government assistance.
Secretary Yangco also said that the actual disbursement of the benefit should also be subject to availability of funds pending the release of the DSWD budget by the Department of Budget and Management.
Meanwhile, the social pension is also subject to a review every two years by Congress, in consultation with the DSWD.
The P2,000 death assistance is intended for indigent senior citizens who should be identified based on DSWD guidelines.
The IRR will become effective two weeks after its complete publication in two major dailies of national circulation. (PIA 8) [top]