Lawmaker wants benefits, privileges for poor ‘junior citizens’
MANILA, Philippines — A bill seeking to give benefits and privileges to “junior citizens” has been filed in the House of Representatives.
Surigao del Norte 2nd District Rep. Robert Ace Barbers said House Bill (HB) No. 67 will “alleviate every parent’s financial woes by providing their children or junior citizens with benefits and privileges that they can enjoy.”
The proposed measure defines a “junior citizen” as a Filipino who is 12 years old and below.
Under HB No. 67, junior citizens whose annual family income does not exceed P250,000 can avail the following benefits and privileges:
- 20% and exemption from value added tax (VAT) in medicines, including vaccines and essential medical supplies; milk supplements; professional fees of licensed professional health providers giving home health care services; medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees private hospitals and facilities; admission fees in theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, and the like; funeral and burial services
- free medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all government facilities
- free pediatric vaccinations, including anti-influenza virus pneumococcal disease, given that the Department of Health (DOH), through government hospitals and health centers, administer it
To avail of the mentioned privileges and benefits, the parent or guardian of the junior citizen must get a Junior Citizen Identification Card and booklet from their local barangays or government units, the proposed law said.
The parent or guardian of the junior citizen must present an original or certified true copy of the child’s birth certificate, income tax return showing that the family’s income does not exceed P250,000 and certification of indigency from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to obtain the Junior Citizen Identification Card and booklet.
The bill also provides for penalties against any person or establishment that would refuse to give the said privileges or violate any provisions of the measure.
“If our government can give these to our senior citizens, there is no reason why we cannot also grant these benefits to our underprivileged junior citizens,” Barbers said in the explanatory note of the bill. /kga
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