3 bills expanding senior, PWD discounts OKd

3 bills expanding senior, PWD discounts OKd

/ 05:20 AM March 20, 2024

CARINGFOR ELDERS The country’s lawmakers strive to make life more comfortable for the elderly and persons with disabilities by crafting measures increasing their discounts as they procure basic necessities and services.—NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

CARINGFOR ELDERS The country’s lawmakers strive to make life more comfortable for the elderly and persons with disabilities by crafting measures increasing their discounts as they procure basic necessities and services.—NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

The House of Representatives has approved three bills that will give additional discounts to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) after a two-month inquiry aimed at plugging the “gaps and confusion” in handing out these benefits under the law.

During their final hearing on Tuesday presided by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, the House joint committee on senior citizens and on ways and means approved the substitute bills to House Bill (HB) Nos. 10061, 10062 and 10063, which seek to expand the discounts to promotional items and services.


HB 10061 and HB 10062, for one, now provide that senior and PWD discounts apply even on promo prices, and introduce a 20-percent discount and value-added tax (VAT) exemption on the initial rate for parking fees.


Under existing laws, seniors and PWDs cannot enjoy the 20-percent discount and exemption from the VAT if the goods or services they are buying are already at promotional prices.

They will also be given a 15-percent discount for water and electricity provided that their monthly consumption does not exceed 100 kilowatt-hours or 30 cubic meters.

The discount will also apply per household and will not depend on the number of senior citizens or PWDs there, provided that the meter is named after a senior citizen or PWD.

HB 10063, meanwhile, seeks to integrate senior citizen and PWD cards and other services in the eGov PH Super App, which was launched by the Department of Information and Communications Technology last year as a portal for government transactions.

Other benefits

Apart from the bills, Salceda said the joint committee also achieved other milestones in senior citizen and PWD discounts, such as getting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture and Department of Energy to expand the senior citizen and PWD discount on basic goods from P260 to P500 a month.

This is expected to take effect within the month, Speaker Martin Romualdez promised earlier.


The House panel was also able to get giant coffee chain Starbucks to give a 40-percent discount for seniors and PWDs last month to compensate for their “misapplication” of the standard discount.

“Based on our calculations, as a result of increased compliance and the expansion of the discount on basic goods, the hearings alone will result in as much as P112.6 billion in more benefits for seniors and PWDs this year alone,” Salceda said.

Lawmakers moved to draw up remedial legislation to address the gaps in the implementation of Republic Act (RA) No. 9994 (the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010) and RA 10754 (an Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of PWDs) due to mounting complaints about their implementation.

Salceda had earlier noted that he was informed of more than 100 violators, among them supermarkets, hotels, shopping malls, food and transportation service providers, airlines, bakeshops and drugstores.

Aside from this, lawmakers were told that more than 2,000 complaints on denied discounts had been filed at the National Council on Disability Affairs and the National Commission of Senior Citizens.

Gaps, issues

Among the gaps, the most common is the practice employed by establishments to evade giving discounts through the provision in the law that exempts promotions approved by the DTI.

Such promos, by their nature, should be temporary, but a number of establishments simply label their regular prices as promo prices, depriving seniors and PWDs of the mandated discounts.

READ: Bigger goods discount for seniors, PWDs set

There is also the issue of delivery apps making it difficult for senior citizens and PWDs to avail themselves of the discounts by hiding such options on their websites.

Since many of these apps require customers to register, they can simply mark during the registration whether the customers are senior citizens or PWDs by simply asking them to upload government-issued IDs as proof.

Meanwhile, establishments have also complained about the proliferation of fake PWD identification cards.

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During an earlier House hearing, Hotel and Restaurant Association of the Philippines representative Patrick Chan noted that some establishments were having difficulty verifying PWDs because there were “1,700 different types of PWD cards, which is quite difficult to compare with any national registry. Unlike with seniors where any ID [with their birth date] will do.” INQ

TAGS: House of Representatives, News, PWD discount, PWDs

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