DSWD Supports Scrapping of Seniors Purchase Booklet

DSWD Secretary Rexlon Gatchalian
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(UPDATE) MANILA, Philippines: The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is backing a proposal by two lawmakers to eliminate the Senior Citizen’s Purchase Slip Booklet, following numerous complaints from the elderly population.

DSWD spokesman Romel Lopez announced on Friday that over the years, the department has received various concerns and complaints regarding the process of availing senior citizen discounts. In 2022 and 2023 alone, the department received a total of 24 complaints specifically related to the purchase booklet.

Former DSWD secretary and ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo, along with Marikina City 2nd District Rep. Stella Quimbo, have initiated the move to abolish the purchase booklet based on their preliminary findings from a legislative investigation conducted earlier this week.

Responding to this development, DSWD Secretary Rexlon Gatchalian expressed the department’s intention to collaborate with the Department of Health (DoH) and other relevant agencies to begin the process of phasing out the booklet.

To facilitate this transition, Secretary Gatchalian has instructed the agency’s Program Management Bureau (PMB) to conduct research and provide recommendations on alternative methods for record-keeping and monitoring of senior citizens’ purchases.

The PMB has proposed the replacement of the booklet with digital purchase records, citing the tendency of senior citizens to forget their booklets and overlook their contents. The bureau emphasized the need to adopt an established system that leverages technology and innovation to ensure efficient, consistent, and uniform implementation of the law’s provisions, particularly in accessing medicines, basic necessities, and prime commodities.

The Department of Health has clarified that the primary purpose of the purchase slip booklets is to assist drugstores in tracking senior citizens’ most recent purchases of specific medications.

In line with these efforts, Baguio Rep. Mark Go has submitted House Resolution 1263, which calls for an end to the mandatory use of the purchase slip booklet for senior citizens purchasing medications and goods.

On October 24, 2023, the DSWD sent a letter to the Department of Health expressing its support for the elimination of the purchase slip booklet. The department welcomes any potential changes that could simplify the guidelines, as long as there are provisions in place to ensure proper monitoring until the digitalization process is complete.

The proposed abolition of the Senior Citizen’s Purchase Slip Booklet reflects the Philippines’ commitment to embracing technological advancements and streamlining processes to better serve its aging population. By transitioning to digital records, the government aims to enhance convenience and accessibility for senior citizens, ensuring they can fully avail their entitled benefits without unnecessary burdens.

As the Department of Social Welfare and Development continues to work closely with relevant agencies, it is expected that a more efficient and user-friendly system will be established, empowering senior citizens to enjoy their discounts and privileges with ease.

Source: The Manila Times

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