Rama warns: Stores not honoring senior citizens’ benefits will be closed

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama. Photo from Cebu City PIO

CEBU City Mayor Michael Rama is considering the closure and revocation of business permits of drug stores that violate laws pertaining to senior citizens’ benefits and privileges, particularly the 20 percent discount.

“Taga-i mi sa mga ngalan sa drug store, butangan dayon og notice if you will not do it, we will be compelled to close you because you are violating the law. No more business permits. Business permit removed,” Rama said in an interview with Cebu City Hall’s teleradyo program “Ingna’ng Mayor” on Thursday, February 1, 2024.

Rama said he is serious about the matter, stressing that these establishments should not be violating the law.

On Monday, January 29, 2024, veteran journalist Manny Rabacal, along with his group called “Pundok Sugboanon Community,” went to Cebu City Councilor Pastor “Jun” Alcover’s office at the Cebu City Hall, and filed a formal complaint regarding the issue.

CEBU. Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama.
‘Honor senior citizen discount’

In a phone interview on Wednesday, January 31, Alcover said Rabacal, who writes column for Superbalita Cebu, was denied the senior citizens’ benefits and privileges of a 20 percent discount in the purchase of a prescribed medicinal supplement last January 18, 2024.

Alcover said Rabacal presented his senior citizen’s identification card, but was still denied his rights.

Alcover, who also leads the Cebu City Senior Citizens Council, asked the store management to attend a meeting on Monday, February 5, at 2 p.m. to explain their side. If they fail to appear, he will bring the issue to the City Council.

Alcover sent the invitation on Tuesday, January 30. He said this is not the only complaint he received, but previous complainants were hesitant to file formal reports, leaving them with no solution.

Alcover said he even experienced the same incident before, which prompted him to call the attention of the management of a particular pharmacy, explaining to them that the local government unit could close their store if they are not following what is provided in the law regarding senior citizens discount.

Republic Act 9994, also known as “An Act to Maximize the Contribution of Senior Citizens to Nation Building, Grant Benefits and Special Privileges and for other purposes,” provides senior citizens with a 20 percent discount on certain goods and services, as well as exemption from value-added tax (VAT) when applicable.

The provision includes discounts on medicines, vaccines, and essential medical supplies.

Violating the provisions of the act carries penalties, including imprisonment and fines ranging from P50,000 to P200,000.

Individuals who abuse the privileges granted by the act may face imprisonment and fines. If the offender is a corporation or similar entity, the responsible officials can also be held liable. (AML)

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