The National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) on Monday proposed the creation of a centralized database system in place of the senior citizen’s purchase slip booklet for claiming discounts.
In a Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon briefing, NCSC chairperson Franklin Quijano said the booklets rarely serve their purpose as some senior citizens often forget to bring them when making purchases, preventing them from receiving discounts.
Quijano said instead of the physical booklets, a centralized database should be established to digitally record transactions regarding the senior citizens’ availment of not just medicines, but also basic necessities and prime commodities.
He said this would entail data-sharing between merchants and the government.
“The substitute for the recording system is iyong mandato ng ating Presidente na dapat i-digitalize ang lahat ng transaksyon (is the mandate of the President that all [government] transactions should be digitalized and that means all the offices of government should work together, so that we will be able to set up a centralized database system,” Quijano said.
He also cited the impacts of paper on the environment as another reason to avoid using purchase slip booklets.
“If there are 12 million senior citizens, can you imagine how many trees will be cut? Kasi ang papel galing sa kahoy eh. So iyan ang nakikita kong practical reason bakit dapat tanggalin ang booklet (Paper comes from wood. So that is a practical reason to replace the booklets),” he said.
Quijano, however, stressed the need for Congress to amend Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 to replace the booklets with a digitalized database.
“I hope that our Congress will also help us prepare, of course, pinag-aralan din natin ito at nakikita natin (we are studying this and we are foreseeing that) with the help of DICT, centralized database will really address the issue,” he said.
Meanwhile, Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Rex Gatchalian has directed the agency’s Program Management Bureau (PMB) to make a study and recommendation regarding the senior citizen purchase slip booklet.
DSWD-PMB’s position paper dated Feb. 1, 2024 recommended to Gatchalian the abolition of the purchase slip booklet, as a requirement for the purchase of medicines by senior citizens.
The DSWD-PMB recommended the adoption of digitized records for the senior citizens, “considering the mobility and tendency to forget to bring their booklets and even read their content, it is no longer convenient on the part of senior citizens to use purchase slip booklets.”
“With the fast-paced technology and innovations, it is recommended to adopt an established system for monitoring, storing, and reporting data towards an efficient, consistent, and uniform implementation of the law and provisions for the availment of medicines, basic necessities, and prime commodities, among others,” the PMB said in its position paper. (PNA)