Lower House confident of Senate approval of add'l senior discounts on utilities

Published January 18, 2022, 7:20 PM

by Ben Rosario

Authors of the bill proposing to increase the discount rate of the monthly electric and water bills of senior citizens are confident the Senate will pass its own version of the legislative measure.

Rep. Mark Go

House Bill 10568 was passed on third and final reading in the House of Representatives on Monday, Jan. 17 and was expected to be transmitted to the Senate for its action.

However, the Upper House has only six session days to act on its version of the bill since the remaining session days have been cut from nine to six following the declaration of a week-long lockdown by the two legislative branches on Tuesday.

Baguio City Rep. Mark Go, one of the three principal authors of the HB 10568, said the bill proposes to amend Republic Act 7432, also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.

Reps. Estrellita B. Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija) and Horacio P. Suansing (2nd District, Sultan Kudarat) authored one of the two bills consolidated into HB 10568.

HB 10568 will increase senior citizen discounts on monthly water and electricity bills from the current five to the proposed ten percent.

Go said the bill also exempts the power and water bills from value added tax (VAT).

Go, chairman of the House Committee on Higher and Technical Education, noted that in a study conducted by the Coalition of the Services of the Elderly, it was revealed that around 38 percent of elderly Filipinos do not receive pension, while 32 percent are entitled to only P500 pension per month.

“Senior citizens are among the most vulnerable in our society and in much need of affirmative protection. In this time of COVID 19 when millions of Filipinos have lost their jobs, we need to extend more compassion to our senior citizens now more than ever,” the administration solon stated.