By Filane Mikee Cervantes

CARE PACKAGE. An elderly lady from Gasan, Marinduque receives free grocery items from a municipal employee in this undated photo. A measure providing PHP1,000 monthly maintenance medication support for senior citizens has been filed at the House of Representatives. (Photo courtesy of Gasan – PIO)

MANILA – A bill was filed in Congress providing PHP1,000 monthly maintenance medication support for senior citizens to help improve their quality of life and ease financial constraints.

House Deputy Majority Leader Erwin Tulfo, co-author of House Bill 9569, said the proposal responds to a critical issue facing the elderly population, particularly those dealing with chronic or long-term medical conditions.

“It acknowledges the fundamental importance of preserving and enhancing the health and well-being of senior citizens in our society,” Tulfo said in a news release on Monday.

Tulfo said chronic illnesses often require regular and costly treatments, imposing a substantial burden on seniors and their families.

“This bill recognizes this burden and aims to alleviate it by providing financial assistance,” he said. “It acknowledges that managing chronic diseases should not be compromised due to economic limitations.”

He cited around 9.2 million senior citizens or those aged 60 and above were recorded by a Philippine Statistics Authority survey in 2020.

Under the measure, the monthly medication maintenance support shall be used exclusively to purchase prescribed maintenance medications, including but not limited to medicines for chronic illnesses, vitamins and supplements, from all public or private pharmaceutical establishments upon presenting a prescription validly issued within the last six months from the date of purchase.

The support shall be non-transferrable. Any unused portion shall not be convertible to cash.

To qualify, a registered senior citizen must submit an application to the Department of Health or its designated agency, accompanied by a valid prescription for maintenance medications issued by a licensed medical practitioner within the last six months from the date of application.

Once approved, beneficiaries shall be issued a monthly maintenance support card.

“The bill is a manifestation of our society’s commitment to honoring and caring for our senior citizens who have contributed to our nation’s growth and development over the years. It recognizes their invaluable role and endeavors to ensure that they can enjoy their senior years with dignity and good health,” Tulfo said. (PNA)