DTI: Online sellers must give discount to seniors/PWDs

Published May 23, 2022, 5:24 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will require all online stores and shopping platforms to include a feature that will provide the mandated discount for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens.

DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said during a television interview that online shopping platforms need to reprogram their offering to incorporate a feature that allows discounts for PWDs and seniors. PWDs and seniors just have to provide IDs for verification purposes.

“We will require the online stores to give those features,” said Lopez adding that the click option feature for PWDs and seniors should be implemented as soon as possible.

Lopez emphasized the discount as PWDs and seniors have complained that their online purchases cannot be availed of because there is no option or button to click in the platform of online sellers to get the discount for their purchases.

Under the law, senior citizens and PWDs are entitled to a 20-percent discount and a 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) exemption on their purchase of several goods and services and a 5-percent special discount on their purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities.

Already, a Joint Memorandum Circular No. 01 was signed by seven government agencies, providing guidelines on the sale of goods and services using the Internet as well as those conducting transactions through telephone, mobile phone/mobile application.

“The rapid development of digital technology has provided new opportunities for sellers and consumers to access products and services through the Internet. During the Covid-19 pandemic, people especially vulnerable sectors of society, including Senior Citizens and the Persons with Disability became dependent on the internet, phone, mobile phone, and mobile devices on the purchase of their basic needs given the mobility restrictions imposed,” according to a circular issued on May 6, but was only made public via the Bureau of Internal Revenue website on Wednesday, May 18.

Apart from the BIR, other government signatories to the circular include the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Commission of Senior Citizens, National Council on Disability Affairs, Department of Health, and Department of the Interior and Local Government.

The JMC prescribed the mandatory guidelines in the availment of privileges of senior citizens and PWDS done through online commerce, telephone or sms.

The Joint Circular reiterated that all qualified purchases of goods and services by senior citizens and PWDS under existing laws done through the internet or open network, telephone, mobile phones, short message service (SMS) are covered by the JMC.

Laban Konsyumer Inc. President Victorio Mario Dimagiba said the JMC is expected to take effect on September 6, 2022.

Overall, Dimagiba said, there was support from all stakeholders on the issuance of the implementing guidelines on senior citizens/PWDs discounts in electronic commerce.