Solon wants elderly to be granted discounts of as much as 50 percent

Published December 30, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Senior Citizens partylist Rep. Francisco Datol Jr. is seeking to amend the country’s Expanded Senior Citizens’ Law to grant the elderly graduated discount of up to 50 percent, especially for those who have reached 90 years old or over.

Hundreds of senior citizens await their turn to receive their quarterly social pension from the local government of Quezon City at the Quezon City Hall Grounds on March 12. The Commission of Population (POPCOM) said that the rising number of senior citizens is expected to exceed eight million by the end of the year, creating an aging population in the country. POPCOM added that the increase in figures will affect the economy as the government needs more funding for their medical and financial needs. (Mark Balmores)

He said Congress should take a second look at Republic Act 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, believing that the growing population of senior citizens becomes “more vulnerable” with the implementation of Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.

“In the light of the TRAIN Law and the purchasing power of our peso vis-a-vis the standard of living of our senior citizens, it is timely and imperative to evaluate the 20 percent discount being given to the senior citizens to offset, if not cushion, them of the possible increase of basic commodities due to the new taxes imposed on various products,” Datol said.

“Unlike the young and employed, they [senior citizens] will not be able to enjoy lower income tax rates and are most likely to feel the impact of inflation,” he said.

He filed House Bill No. 5718 to give certain classes of senior citizens graduated discount by amending Section 4 of RA 9994.

“It is but fitting that they should be respected, recognized, and rewarded by giving them graduated discount,” Datol said.

Under the present law, senior citizens are entitled to a 20 percent discount and exemption from value-added tax (VAT) on their purchase of specified goods and services.

“The 2014 study undertaken by Moody’s Investors Service predicted that the percentage of elderly people (65 and above) in the Philippines will most likely grow to 4.9 percent by 2020; 5.6 percent by 2025, and 6.3 percent by 2030,” Datol noted.

HB 5718 provides that the senior citizens shall be entitled to the following: the grant of 20 percent discount for those who are 60 years old but not more than 70 years old; 30 percent discount for those who are 70 years old but not more than 80 years old; 40 percent discount for those who are 80 years old but not more than 90 years old; and 50 percent discount for those who are 90 years old or over.

“This kind of discount would not unduly affect the economic viability of business establishments as this will be deducted from their taxes as provided for in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010,” Datol said.

He said, at present, all senior citizens are given a uniform 20-percent discount.

“There is a great difference between 60 years old and 100 years old or over. For instance, the latest WHO (World Health Organization) data published in 2015 showed that life expectancy in Philippines for male is 65.3 years old, while for female, it is 72 years old,” he said.

“If we live beyond this age, certainly it is God-given bonus on our dear lives. Correspondingly, the age difference bracket as mentioned ought to have a different graduated discount, as proposed in this bill,” Datol said.