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Freeman Region

Profit woes of boticas tackled

Juancho R. Gallarde - The Freeman

DUMAGUETE CITY, Philippines — “This problem is bigger than we thought. We thought it was just a simple implementation of the law, Republic Act 9994, but it turned out to be an industry problem,” commented Ed Du, president of the Negros Oriental Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Du issued this statement after hearing the sentiments of owners of at least 60 small pharmacies or boticas over the 20 percent discount on purchases of senior citizens.

During Thursday’s hearing, small players in the pharmaceutical business in this city have complained they were the most affected sector because their mark-up on their sold products is only five percent compared to other industries.

These discounts have “not much effect also on the owners of big pharmacies because they are operating on a bigger scale than us,” said the affected owners of boticas.

Du agreed that granting 20 percent discount to senior citizens plus the 12 percent expanded value-added tax  would result to losses in the operation of small pharmacies. He added that he is now initiating moves to strengthen the organization of these boticas in the city.

On the other hand, it was observed and even documented by a senior citizen, who is planning to file a complaint before the City Prosecutors Office accusing some boticas of allegedly jacking up the prices of medicines to 20 percent whenever they see senior citizens coming to buy at these stores.

As a result, the original undiscounted price stays, with the 20 percent discount, even if granted, is offset by the payment of the medicines bought by the senior citizens.

As such, the City Council had proposed an ordinance enhancing and giving more teeth to RA 9994 so that senior citizens will not be short-changed.

However, George Villamor, president of the Federation of Senior Citizens of the Philippines-Negros Oriental chapter, said he understood the predicament of and he sympathized with the owners of boticas because he has been operating himself the Botica sa OSCA.

Villamor, in an unsolicited proposal, moved for the reduction of the 20 percent discount as a compromise agreement between the senior citizens and the operators of small pharmacies in the city to avoid complaints from both sides.

Villamor said the senior citizens and the boticas need each other. “We cannot break the law, but maybe we can bend a little” to achieve a win-win solution to the problem.”

Villamor toyed with the idea of asking Congress and the president, with the help of local government units and the boticas, to make amendments of RA 9994 by lowering a bit the 20 percent discount for senior citizens to a rate acceptable to both parties.  (FREEMAN)

ACIRC

BOTICAS

CITIZENS

CITY COUNCIL

CITY PROSECUTORS OFFICE

DURING THURSDAY

ED DU

FEDERATION OF SENIOR CITIZENS OF THE PHILIPPINES-NEGROS ORIENTAL

PERCENT

SENIOR

VILLAMOR

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