P125 per week discount for seniors’ grocery items takes effect in March

DILG) has recently issued a memorandum circular, which reiterates the implementation of the Republic Act (RA) 7432 or Senior Citizens Act and states that senior citizens do not need to become registered voters to get benefits from their local or city government. 

Senior citizens wait for their turn to get their second booster shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at a mall on May 20, 2022. (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ GRIG MONTEGRANDE)

MANILA, Philippines — The proposed increase in the discounts given to grocery purchases of senior citizens and persons with disability (PWDs) will take effect before March ends.

House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez gave the timeframe in a statement on Wednesday.

The Speaker has met with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials, including Undersecretary Carolina Sanchez.

Sanchez informed the House leader that DTI is amenable to requests for additional discounts for seniors and PWDs.

Currently, senior citizens and PWDs get a weekly grocery discount capped at P65.

The amount is based on the computation of a 5 percent discount for the maximum allowable purchase of P1,300.

Romualdez and other lawmakers have suggested that the maximum discountable amount should be increased to P2,500 for a P125 per week discount, or P500 per month.

“I am delighted to welcome the imminent implementation of increased discounts for our senior citizens and PWDs,” he said.

“This initiative to provide additional discounts for senior citizens and PWDs demonstrates the commitment of President Marcos to promoting inclusivity and social justice,” he added.

Meanwhile, while the consultation process is still ongoing, an inter-agency circular will be issued within March.

“We’re working so that the usual P65 per week discount for senior citizens and PWDs may be increased to P125,” Sanchez said.

“It’s a joint issuance between the DA (Department of Agriculture), DTI and the DOE (Department of Energy).”

On February 07, Romualdez said a technical working group was formed to study proposals to increase the discount hike.

The move comes after concerns were brought up during a House committee hearing on ways and means.

Zamboanga Sibugay 1st District Representative Wilter Palma relayed to the committee that while he and his wife were buying groceries in a mall near Fairview, Quezon City, he was surprised to learn that despite the massive cost of their purchases, the discount was capped at only P65.

It was then revealed that according to the Joint DTI-DA Administrative Order No. 10-02 series of 2010, seniors can avail of  a special discount of 5 percent for their groceries, provided that the “total amount of said purchase shall not exceed the amount of P1,300 per calendar week.”

Committee chairperson and Albay 2nd District Representative Joey Salceda suggested increasing the discounts.

He said the maximum discountable amount per week of P1,300 set 20 years ago is already outdated.

Salceda said the P1,300 is now worth P2,526 — and 5 percent of P2,526 is P126.31.