CITY OF SAN FERNANDO---The City Government of San Fernando convened drugstore owners here recently to discuss the implementation of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

Some 40 members of the Drugstores Association of Pampanga (DAP), mostly coming from the city, attended the meeting presided by City Administrator Ferdinand Caylao.

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Caylao said non-compliance by drugstores to the law has been a lingering problem among local government units, San Fernando included.

He noted that it is difficult for a drugstore to abide by the Act, especially among small ones who only have five percent mark-ups on medicines.

“Nahihirapan ang lahat na magbigay ng 20 percent discount sa mga senior citizens lalo na yung maliliit na drugstores,” Caylao pointed out.

The amended Act exempts senior citizens from the 12-percent value added tax (VAT), allowing them to avail of the full 20-percent discount on purchases of goods and services.

Before the new law's implementation, senior citizens were only able to enjoy eight percent of the mandated 20 percent discount due to the imposition of VAT.

Caylao also disclosed that the city has been receiving complaints that some of these stores do not grant discounts to senior citizens.

“Ginawa natin ang meeting na ito para makapag-mediate tayo sa mga owners at mga senior citizen so we can arrive at a win-win solution for both parties,” said Caylao.

He also said the city is planning to replicate a memorandum of agreement from one local government unit in Zambales which pegged the discount to a minimum of five percent.

“Sa Zambales, nag-agree ang mga senior citizens, drugstore owners, together with the governor na magtalaga ng certain percentage sa mga discount para hindi mahirapan ang lahat,” added Caylao.

Crispolo Quiambao, chairman of the city’s Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs, was amenable to the proposal.

“Gusto talaga namin 20 percent. Pero kung hindi kaya ng mga drugstore companies, okay na sa amin yun. Ayaw naman namin silang malugi at ma-penalize, kasi baka magsara sila at lahat tayo ay mahihirapan,” Quiambao said.

The city has more than 14,000 registered senior citizens.(Jovi T. De Leon)