Grant senior citizens their benefits, Abalos urges LGUs

At a glance


Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. asked local government units (LGUs) to ensure that the appropriate benefits mandated under the law are handed down to the qualified senior citizens in their respective jurisdictions.

Under Republic Act (RA) 7432 otherwise known as “The Senior Citizens Act” that was amended by RA 9257 and 9994 (Expanded Senior Citizens Act), Abalos explained that it was the duty of the government to provide employment, education, health, public service, housing, public transport and other aid like social pension and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) coverage assistance to the senior citizens.

“Nagampanan na ng ating mga senior citizen ang kanilang mga tungkulin bilang mga mamamayan ng bansa. Ngayong matatanda na sila, ibalik naman natin sa kanila ang mga benepisyo na binibigay ng batas para maramdaman nila na mahalaga silang kasapi ng lipunan (Our senior citizens have already rendered their duties as citizens of the country. Now in their advanced age, let us return the favor by providing them the benefits that the law allows to let them know that they are important members of the society),’’ Abalos stressed.

He emphasized that the law clearly states that the senior citizens should be accorded with 20 percent discounts or exemption from the value added tax (VAT) for their needs like the purchase of medicines, payment for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, doctors’ fees in the hospitals  and other medical facilities and medical and dental services based on the regulations of the Department of Health (DOH) and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth).

The DILG chief added that the senior citizens also enjoy 20 percent discounts on public transports which include airplane and shipping fares , moviehouses, concerts, funeral and burial services for the dead elderly.

In addition, Abalos bared that the senior citizens are accorded with five percent discount in their electric and water bills as long as the bills are under their names, and as long as their electric and water consumptions do not exceed 100 kilowatts hour and 30 cubic meters respectively.

Abalos pointed out that the senior citizens just need to present any of the following identification cards (ID) from the Office of the Senior Citizens Affair (OSCA), passport and other pertinent documents showing that the concerned person is 60 years old or over.

In Memorandum Circular 2023-045, Abalos clarified that the LGUs need not require the senior citizens to submit additional requirements in case they want to provide them with additional benefits.

“Hindi kinakailangang humingi pa (LGUs) ng additional requirements bilang patunay na sila (senior citizens) ay residente ng local government unit (LGU) bukod sa alin man sa sumusunod: barangay certification, contract of lease, proof of billing o valid government ID (They do not need to require the senior citizens to submit proof of their residency aside from the following barangay certificate, contract of lease, proof of billing or valid government ID),’’ Abalos asserted.

Aside from discounts, Abalos maintained that the minimum wage earning senior citizens are exempted from paying taxes as exemplified in RA 9504 otherwise known as “The Minimum Wage, Personal Exemptions, Additional Exemptions, Optional Standard Deduction’’ Act.

As the need arises, Abalos reminded the LGUs to provide the senior citizens with free health, dental and laboratory medical services in the public hospitals and similar facilities based on the DOH and PhilHealth regulations.

“Ang mga indigent na senior citizen ay may libre ring bakuna laban sa trangkaso at pneumonia (The indigent senior citizens have free vaccines against flu and pneumonia),’’ Abalos bared.

Analos assured that the DILG and the LGUs will provide assistance to ensure that the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Social Security System (SSS), Pag-IBIG benefits of the employed senior citizens are continuously granted up to the government’s availability of funds.

Through scholarship, financial grants, subsidies and other incentives  Abalos also noted that the government may provide educational assistance for vocational or short courses to the senior citizens who wish to continue with their studies.

The incentives include assistance in purchasing books, educational materials, school uniforms as long as they have passing grades on their chosen courses.

Abalos also asked the LGUs to give the senior citizens express lanes in private and public establishments or to prioritize them in case these are unavailable.