MANILA—A few weeks after senior citizens vented their sentiments about their long time struggle for discounted rates on vitamins, minerals and food supplements, they may finally get their wish through an Administrative Order issued by the Department of Health (DOH) lately.
This was disclosed by prominent election lawyer and senior citizen’s rights advocate Atty. Romulo Macalintal during a radio-TV interview, Thursday, monitored by Sandigan News and Banat Pilipinas News. He said he got a good news from the DOH that senior citizens must enjoy the 20 percent discount on vitamins, minerals and food supplements.
“Nilinaw ng Department of Health na dapat na mabigyan ng 20% discount ang ating mga senior citizens sa vitamins and minerals.” He continued, “at inamin din mismo ng DOH na nagkamali sila at FDA sa desisyon nila nuong 2010 na hindi nila nasama ito kahit na malinaw na dapat kasama ito sa batas.”
It has been 10 long years since the enactment of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 but vitamins, minerals and food supplements that are prescribed by their physicians as part of their regimen are not included items for discounts. “Malinaw naman sa batas na kasali ito na dapat may discount dahil kinailangan ito upang madaling gumaling sa karamdaman ang senior citizen,” Macalintal said in a separate interview.
Atty. Macalintal said his group sent a letter to DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III and Senator Bong Go who personally intervened and talked to Secretary Duque about the matter. “Alam mo mga senior citizens, dapat magpasalamat tayo kay Sen. Bong Go dahil siya mismo ang tumawag kay Sec. Duque para ito agad ay maaksyunan,” Macalintal continued.
He clarified though that such discounts on vitamins, minerals and food supplements would only be availed by senior citizens upon presentation of physician’s prescriptions that such items are part of their medication or maintenance. “Mananagot din kasi ang pharmacy kung magbigay sila ng diskwento na walang kaukulang prescription ng doktor,” Macalintal further said.
After two weeks the group received a copy of the new Administrative Order from the DOH but its effectivity will be 30 days after its publication in major newspapers and sending of copies of the said Administrative Order to the UP Law Center. “Good news na naging bad news pa dahil ba’t matagal? Eh lockdown pa, walang tao doon sa UP,” Macalintal lamented.
Nonetheless, Atty. Macalintal and the 9.4 million strong senior citizens in the country have expressed their gratitude to the immediate action of the DOH to their plight and genuine concern of Sen. Bong Go. They appealed to the DOH though to amend the effectivity of the said Administrative Order so that senior citizens can benefit from it immediately.