Elderly Filipino Week

We celebrate the annual Elderly Filipino Week on Oct. 1-7, with the first Sunday this month as “National Respect for Centenarians Day” pursuant to Republic Act No. 10868 or the Centenarians Act of 2016. Under this law, any Filipino citizen who reaches the age of 100 years old shall be entitled to the “Centenarian gift” of P100,000 from the national government with a Certificate of Felicitation from the president and with corresponding cash incentives from and determined by the city or municipality where the elderly resides.

Thus, in line with this nationwide celebration, we, the senior citizens, would like to propose the following incentives for the consideration of the President and our lawmakers:

1) Section 4(c) of RA 9994, which grants to elderly persons “five percent discount on their water and electric bills provided the water consumption does not exceed 30 cubic meters and electric usage does not exceed 100 kWh” be amended to the effect that the discount should be applied to the first 30 cubic meters of water consumption and to the first 100 kWh electric usage. I already sent letters or proposed bills to our legislators and to date I have not yet received any action.

2) When an item is on “promo” authorized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the coupon or advertisement should not only state the “promo price” but shall also include the price if purchased by an elderly or senior citizen. This is so because there are times when the “promo price” is higher than what an elderly would get if he would apply his 12-percent VAT exemption and 20-percent discount. Likewise, if the “promo” goes beyond the period allowed by the DTI, the “promo price” shall be treated as the regular price of the item on promo to which the elderly should be entitled to his 12-percent VAT exemption and 20-percent discount.

3) The DTI should clearly emphasize that when a “promo” is not allowed by the DTI or the “promo” is a personal undertaking by the firm or establishment, the elderly shall still be entitled to his 12-percent VAT exemption and 20-percent discount over and above the said promo price. The DTI should also stress that said discounts on “promo” should include the so-called “package promo” offered by hospitals, laboratory clinics, restaurants and similar establishments selling combination of items in special price offered to nonsenior citizens and the senior citizens at the same price.

The requirement that promotional discounts should be approved by the DTI is imperatively necessary, otherwise some dishonest firms would just say they are “on promo,” which will render naught and meaningless the purpose of the Senior Citizens Law.

And the same benefits should likewise be extended to persons with disability since they receive the same benefits enjoyed by Filipino senior citizens.

ROMULO B. MACALINTAL, advocate for rights of senior citizens, Las Piñas City