The latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority1 show that the country has 9.22 million senior citizens. The number is significant as they comprise about 8.5% of our total household population in 2020; thus, policies towards their protection and convenience should be rightfully made.
In this article, I will provide a complete guide to senior citizen discounts and benefits under the existing laws of the Philippines, how to avail of these privileges and benefits; and give you tips and warnings. Your most frequently asked questions are also answered.
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for general informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for legal counsel. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The use of the information contained herein does not create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the user/reader.
Table of Contents
At a Glance: Senior Citizen Discounts and Benefits Summarized Checklist (FREE PDF Download)
Do you want an overview of the discounts and privileges available for senior citizens in the Philippines? We’ve got you covered!
Download this PDF file to get the checklist of all senior citizen discounts and benefits the law provides. This is recommended if you don’t have the time or the energy to read the entire article. For a more in-depth discussion, please read our comprehensive guide below.
Who Are Considered Senior Citizens in the Philippines?
If you are a Filipino sixty (60) years old and above and a resident of the Philippines, you are a senior citizen.
If you have “dual citizenship” and have been residing in the Philippines for at least six (6) months, you are also considered a senior citizen. You are entitled to all privileges provided under the law.
The Complete List of Senior Citizen’s Discounts and Benefits Under Existing Laws of the Philippines
The laws catering to the welfare of the elderly have evolved. Given the significant number of senior citizens in the country and seeing the growing concerns of the older population, the need to have inclusive laws and policies is required.
Republic Act No. 9994 or the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010”2 approved on Feb. 15, 2010, and Republic Act No. 10645 or “An Act Providing for the Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage of Senior Citizens”3 are the latest laws passed to cater to the needs of senior citizens.
Here is the complete list of benefits and privileges under both laws:
1. Health or Medical-Related Privileges
a. Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the purchase of the following:
- Generic and brand medicines and drugs. Update: Executive Order No. 1044, which mandates up to 58% reduction on the retail prices of 87 high-cost medicines for top chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cancer, took effect in June 2020. This means that apart from the 20% standard discount, senior citizens can now also enjoy an average of 31% decrease in the prices of medicines they purchase. For example, insulin costs ₱818 per pre-filled pen. Under the new law, its maximum retail price is now ₱400, or almost half its original price.
- Influenza and pneumococcal vaccines;
- Vitamins and minerals supplements provided the physician medically prescribed them for prevention and treatment of disease, illness, or injury;
- Medical supplies and equipment such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, dentures, prosthetics, artificial bone replacements like steel, walkers, crutches, wheelchairs whether manual or electric-powered, canes/quad canes, geriatric diapers, and other essential medical supplies, accessories, and equipment by or for senior citizen.
- Medical devices used or consumed during check-ups or confinement or to be used during the recovery at home or for monitoring of a particular disease or to aid the maintenance of treatment provided the physician prescribed the use of such medical devices;
- Medical and dental services in private facilities;
- Diagnostic laboratory tests (such as X-Rays, computerized tomography or CT scans, and blood tests) that are requested by a physician in private facilities;
- Professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home care facilities;
- Professional fees of licensed health workers providing home health care services (e.g., doctors, nurses, midwives, nutritionists, psychologists, massage therapists) as endorsed by hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies. The burden of the 20% discount and VAT exemption provided to senior citizens will be borne by the employment agency and NOT the health care worker, given the minimal share of the latter as compared to the total profits earned by the agency;
- Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees of attending physicians and other health professionals confined in pay sections of government hospitals/health facilities.
b. FREE on the following services in ALL service wards of government hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care clinics:
- Medical and dental services;
- Diagnostic and laboratory services requested by the physician (e.g., X-Rays, computerized tomography or CT scans, blood tests);
- Professional fees of the attending doctor;
- Influenza virus and pneumococcal vaccinations administered by the DOH.
c. Mandatory PhilHealth coverage
Regardless of status, all senior citizens are now covered by PhilHealth’s national health insurance program. Thanks to Republic Act No. 10645, you can now enjoy the program’s benefits.
How To Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount in the Philippines on Medical Goods and Services
The senior citizen or his/her representative can avail of the discount on medicines, doctor-prescribed supplements, and/or medical supplies by presenting the senior citizen ID, the purchase booklet issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA), and prescription slips to the cashier upon purchase.
The ID, booklet, and supporting documents must also be presented to the clinics/hospitals to avail of the senior citizen discount on medical procedures or services.
The 20% discount and VAT exemption (12% effective rate) also apply to the following5:
- Medicines/medical supplies purchased via e-commerce or online platforms, mobile applications, SMS, or phone call
Availment of this privilege requires the senior citizen to declare to the online platform/merchant that he/she is a senior citizen before order placement. Once the order is confirmed, the senior citizen must attach a scanned copy/image/screenshot of his/her ID (either a senior citizen ID issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs or any government-issued ID showing the elder’s name, picture, birth date, and nationality), copy of the medical prescription, and copy of the front page and last entry of the senior citizen purchase booklet.
Upon delivery of goods/orders/services purchased through an online platform, the senior citizen must once again present the original copy of the same documents presented during order confirmation. If a duly authorized representative avails of the discount on the senior citizen’s behalf, the said representative must also present his/her ID and the authorization letter. Suppose the senior citizen or the authorized representative fails to present the required proof of discount entitlement. In that case, the online platform/merchant may charge the senior citizen the full amount of the goods or services purchased.
To claim PhilHealth benefits, the senior citizen or his/her representative must proceed to the hospital’s Health Care Institution (HCI) portal and present the senior citizen ID, MDR, or any proof of the patient’s identity and age. The hospital will print the PhilHealth Benefit Eligibility Form (PBEF) and process the deductions from the elderly patient’s bills.
2. Transportation Privileges
a. Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the fare of the following:
- Domestic air and sea travel, including advanced booking;
- Public railways (MRT, LRT, and PNR);
- Public Utility buses, jeepneys, taxis, and shuttle services.
b. Exempt from payment of passenger terminal fees in airports and seaports
How To Avail of the Senior Citizen Discount and Privileges in the Philippines on Transportation
- Senior citizens can get the 20% discount on Single Journey and Stored Value Tickets directly at all stations by presenting their valid OSCA (Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs)/NCDA (National Council on Disability Affairs) ID to the station tellers.
- Special seats behind the train operator’s cabin are reserved for senior citizens (along with PWDs and pregnant women/women with infants).
- In addition to the fare, domestic shipping companies/owners and operators of passenger-carrying ships shall also grant a 20% discount and VAT exemption on food and drinks, medicines on board, and services and recreation inside the ship. Courtesy and civility shall also be observed during embarkation and disembarkation.
- Air carriers must designate at least one (1) check-in counter, which will prioritize senior citizens. If a check-in counter is not possible, priority handling and processing should be made. Air carriers must coordinate with proper authorities to use airport equipment, entryways, etc., to facilitate airport transactions, movement, boarding, and disembarkation of senior citizens. One person can accompany a senior citizen to the designated check-in counter.
- Online bookings of travel services via land, sea, or air are also subject to a 20% discount and VAT exemption privilege (Joint Memorandum (JMC) No. 01 Series of 2022).
How To Avail of Senior Citizen Discount on Flights via Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, or Airasia
a. Philippine Airlines
Senior citizens can avail of the 20% discount on Economy Value, Economy Flex, Premium Economy, Business Value, and Business Flex Fares6. This discount does not apply to International and Promotional fares. Meanwhile, the VAT exemption is only applicable to Domestic Fares.
The 20% discount and VAT exemption can also be applied to special medical supplies and equipment like oxygen tanks on board the aircraft should the senior citizen need them during the trip.
Senior citizens are not entitled to the discount and VAT exemption on excess baggage; cargo and cargo-related fees/penalties; taxes, penalties, and fees; tickets claimed as prizes or rewards; and other non-fare related transactions.
The senior citizen discount can be applied upon booking the trip online. The elderly passenger or his/her representative must only enter the senior citizen ID number in the designated field in the online booking form. However, the senior citizen must still present the senior citizen ID/OSCA ID with his/her Philippine passport or any government-issued ID indicating the passenger’s date of birth during airport check-in. If the senior citizen fails to present the requirements at check-in, the airline can charge the passenger the amount equal to the 20% discount and 12% VAT.
For over-the-counter ticket purchases, the senior citizen discount and VAT exemption can only be availed by the senior citizen or his/her authorized representative upon presentation of the elderly passenger’s OSCA/senior citizen ID, Philippine passport, or any government-issued ID showing his/her name, picture, date of birth, and nationality.
b. Cebu Pacific
The Gokongwei-led budget carrier has already upgraded its systems to implement the 20% discount on domestic flight tickets for senior citizens. This is in addition to the 12% value-added tax (VAT) exemption already provided by the government. Note that the discount only applies to airfare and doesn’t include other services like seat selection, baggage allowance, and in-flight meals7.
To avail of the discount when booking the flight online, input the senior citizen’s birth date and OSCA ID number in the designated fields. The total discounted amount will be displayed in the “booking summary” of the website and the “payment details” or “fare breakdown” part of the itinerary receipt.
All senior citizens who successfully received the discount during the online booking must present their senior citizen IDs upon airport check-in; otherwise, the discount will be forfeited.
According to AirAsia’s support center8, Filipino senior citizens traveling on domestic flights are entitled to a 20% discount and VAT exemption under the Philippines’ CAB Resolution No. 41 and the implementing rules and regulations of the Senior Citizen Act. The senior citizen or his/her representative can avail of this discount by booking domestic flights through AirAsia’s website or mobile application.
3. Travel, Entertainment, and Recreation
a. Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the following:
- Room accommodation and other amenities in hotels (including mountain and beach resorts) and similar establishments such as hotel-based parlors and barbershops, restaurants, massage parlors, spas, sauna baths, workout gyms, swimming pools, jacuzzis, aromatherapy rooms, KTV bars, Internet facilities, food, drinks, and other services offered;
- Food, drinks, desserts, and other consumable items in restaurants;
- Fees, charges, and rental for sports facilities and equipment, including golf cart rentals and green fees; venues for ballroom dancing and yoga; badminton courts; bowling lanes; table or lawn tennis; workout gyms; and martial arts facilities. However, non-profit, stock golf, and country clubs that offer exclusive membership (meaning they’re private/not open to the public) are NOT mandated to grant the 20% senior citizen discount. Meanwhile, restaurants inside these private country clubs are still required to give the discount provided they are independent concessionaires and the food they’re selling is not consumable items under club membership dues;
- Admission fees in culture, leisure, and amusement places such as theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, circuses, carnivals, museums, and parks.
- The discount on food, drinks, and desserts shall not apply to pre-contracted party packages or bulk orders.
- The senior citizen must personally avail of the discount for dine-in services in hotels and restaurants, and no proxies or authorization in favor of another person who is not a senior citizen shall be honored.
- The discount shall apply to take-out, take-home, or drive-thru orders as long as the senior citizen is present and personally ordering and can show the senior card.
- The discount shall also apply for delivery orders, provided the senior citizen card number must be given while making the order over the telephone, and the senior citizen ID card must also be presented upon delivery to verify the identity of the senior citizen.
- For take-out, take-home, drive-thru, and delivery orders, the Most Expensive Meal (or the amount corresponding to the combination of the most expensive and biggest single-serving meal with beverage) shall apply to food purchases by senior citizens.
How To Avail of Senior Citizen Discount on Restaurants in the Philippines
Senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount on restaurants and fast food chains in the country (e.g., Jollibee, KFC, McDonald’s, etc.). For dine-in orders, senior citizens can avail of the discount by presenting their senior citizen (OSCA) ID when making the order or paying their bills. On the other hand, orders made online can be purchased with a discount by calling the food establishment directly and informing them about the senior citizen’s name and ID number. The customer must present the ID when receiving the delivery; otherwise, the discount will be voided.
Senior citizens can also enjoy the government-mandated discount when using food delivery apps, although processing the request may take a while. In Foodpanda, for example, you can learn more about how to avail of the senior citizen discount by opening the app, going to the Help Center, selecting Vouchers and rewards, and clicking Senior Citizen and PWD Discounts.
When ordering group meals in restaurants, the combination of the most expensive and biggest single-serving meal with beverage shall be the basis of the 20% discount to help the food establishment estimate the single food purchase for an individual senior citizen. Suppose there are multiple senior citizens in one transaction. In that case, the total bill shall be divided by the number of people to calculate the actual consumption of the individual senior citizen entitled to the discount (Joint Memorandum (JMC) No. 01 Series of 2022).
4. Utility Discounts
a. Five percent (5%) discount on the monthly utilization of electricity and water by a household with a senior citizen
- To avail of the discount, the meters for water and electricity should be registered in the name of the senior citizen residing therein.
- The monthly consumption does not exceed one hundred kilowatts per hour (100kWh) of electricity and thirty cubic meters (30m’) of water.
- The discount is per household regardless of the number of senior citizens residing therein.
Update: In June 2023, a bill that seeks to increase the senior citizen’s discount on water and electricity bills to 10% and exempt them from paying the value-added tax (VAT) was filed in the House of Representatives9. Authored by Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Lordan G. Suan and Misamis Oriental Representatives Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano and Christian S. Unabia, the bill seeks to amend section four of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 9994) which only grants a measly 5% discount on senior citizens’ monthly utility bills.
b. Fifty percent (50%) discount on all electricity, water, and telephone consumption for DSWD-accredited senior citizens centers and residential care institutions or group homes.
- The establishments are either government-run or non-stock non-profit domestic corporations primarily organized and operated for the care of the elderly.
- The establishment must have been in operation for at least six (6) months and must have a separate meter for the said utilities.
- Exemption from payment of Value Added Tax (VAT) on the purchase of goods and services discussed herein.
- Exemption from payment of individual income tax provided the senior citizen is a minimum wage earner under Republic Act No. 9504
6. Basic Necessities and Prime Commodities
a. Five Percent (5%) discount on the purchase of the following necessities:
- All kinds of variants of rice;
- All kinds of bread (pastries and cakes not included);
- Fresh, dried, and canned fish and other marine products (including frozen and in various modes of packaging);
- Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat;
- All kinds of fresh eggs (excluding quail eggs);
- Potable water in bottles and containers;
- Fresh and processed milk (excluding milk labeled as a food supplement);
- Fresh vegetables, including root crops;
- Fresh fruits;
- Locally manufactured instant noodles;
- Coffee and coffee creamer;
- All kinds of sugar and (excluding artificial sweetener);
- All kinds of cooking oil;
- Powdered, liquid, bar laundry, and detergent soap;
- Firewood, charcoal, all kinds of candles;
- Liquified petroleum gas, not more than 11 kgs, LPG content once every five months bought from LPG dealers;
- Kerosene, not more than 2 liters per month.
b. Five percent (5%) on the purchase of the following prime commodities:
- Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef, and poultry meat;
- Dairy products;
- Onions and garlic;
- Vinegar, patis, and soy sauce;
- Toilet/bath and soap;
- Fertilizer, Pesticides, Herbicides;
- Poultry feeds, livestock feeds, and fishery feeds;
- Veterinary products;
- Paper, school supplies;
- Nipa shingles;
- Cement, Clinker, GI Sheets;
- Hollow blocks;
- Plywood, plyboard, construction nails;
- Batteries (excluding cell phone and automotive batteries);
- Electrical supplies and light bulbs;
- Steel wires
How To Avail of Senior Citizen Discount on Grocery Stores in the Philippines
- The 5% discount can be availed of in supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, and the like, EXCLUDING stalls in food courts, food carts, food vendors, and sari-sari stores with a capitalization of less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000), public and private wet markets, “talipapa,” and other cooperative stores.
- The 5% discount is on the regular retail price excluding VAT.
- The total amount of purchase per calendar week is ₱1,300.00 without carrying over to the unused amount.
- You must present your Purchase Booklet whenever you purchase the basic necessities and prime commodities. The Purchase booklet can be obtained at OSCA (Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs).
- A special express lane, or, in the absence thereof, a priority lane, shall be provided by establishments to senior citizens.
- A double discount is not allowed. You may choose whether to avail of the senior citizen discount or the promotional discount.
- If you can not personally buy the goods, you may authorize a representative to purchase them. The authorized representative must present an authorization letter, a valid ID, and your OSCA-issued document.
- The 5% special discount also applies to basic necessities and prime commodities purchased through e-commerce or online platforms, mobile applications, phone calls, or SMS (Joint Memorandum (JMC) No. 01 Series of 2022). To avail of this privilege, the senior citizen must send a screenshot of their senior citizen ID and purchase booklet to the seller before placement of the order.
7. Government Assistance
a. Information and matching services for potential employment opportunities. As of 2023, numerous bills have been filed to provide or expand employment opportunities for senior citizens in the Philippines, most notable of which is the Senate Bill No. 360 by Senator Joel Villanueva10. The SB No. 360 seeks to give incentives to local employers who will hire senior citizens. These incentives shall be in the form of 25% tax reduction and an additional tax break if they will provide relevant trainings to their elderly employees. Once passed, this bill will be known as the “Senior Citizens Employment Incentives Act of 2022.”
b. Free livelihood training programs.
c. Access to formal and non-formal education provided by DepEd, the DOST-TRC, and TESDA.
d. Development and implementation of programs and social services for senior citizens, including the creation of a National Health Program by the DOH catering to the needs of the elderly as well as incorporating the National Prevention of Blindness Program. As of February 2023, the House Bill 7064, which seeks to activate a comprehensive nutritional support for the elderly11, has been filed by Senior Citizens Party-list Rep. Rodolfo Ordanes. Under this bill, a comprehensive nutrition and wellness program shall be created and disseminated to every municipality nationwide. Local health personnels in each LGU will conduct regular visitations to senior citizens within their jurisdiction, making sure they stick to the healthy diet recommended by the program to be suitable to their unique health conditions.
e. Inclusion of the special needs of senior citizens in the national shelter program, including the establishment of housing units for the elderly.
f. Strict implementation of courtesy space and seats for the exclusive use of senior citizens in all transport systems.
g. Social pension amounting to five hundred pesos (₱500) per month for indigent senior citizens. As of 2023, this amount will soon be increased after the national government agreed to allocate an additional ₱25.6 billion for the indigent seniors’ monthly pension, doubling it from ₱500 to ₱1,00012.
8. Funeral and Burial Services
a. Twenty percent (20%) discount and VAT exemption on the purchase/payment of the following:
- Casket or urn
- Embalming services
- Viewing or wake cost
- Pick-up from the hospital morgue
- Transport of the body to the intended burial site in the place of origin
- Internment services13 include digging the land for the deceased, filling a gravesite with concrete, and other services during an actual burial. The 20% senior citizen discount on internment services was recently added to the funeral and burial services provided under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010. This change was introduced after the Supreme Court granted the government’s appeal to overturn a 2018 ruling during which the Cagayan de Oro Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 17 sided with a private company selling memorial lots and which claimed interment services were not subject to the senior citizen discount. The Supreme Court disagreed, pointing out that there’s no exact definition of the “funeral and burial services” in the existing law for senior citizens and that the burial service encompasses all services related to the “final disposition, entombment, or interment of human remains.”
b. Death benefit assistance amounting to Two Thousand Pesos (₱2,000) given to the nearest surviving relative who took care of the deceased indigent senior citizen.
How To Avail of Death Benefits for Senior Citizens
- Obituary publication and the cost of the memorial lot are excluded from the 20% discount.
- The person who can claim the discount is the beneficiary or any person who shouldered the funeral expenses of the deceased senior citizen. He/She can claim the discount upon presentation of the deceased senior citizen’s death certificate.
- The Department of Social Welfare and Development funds senior citizens’ death benefits14.
How To Compute Senior Citizen Discount and VAT Exemption
The twenty percent (20%) discount and the VAT exemption granted to senior citizens shall be computed in the following manner:
Step 1: The VAT Shall Be Initially Deducted From the Retail Price of the Item To Obtain the Net Retail Price
To do this, you need to use this formula:
Selling Price/VAT Rate (12%) = VAT Exempt Sales
Assuming the selling price (retail price of the item including VAT) is ₱200.00. The senior citizen price will be computed as follows:
Retail price including VAT: ₱200.00
(divided by) VAT Rate: 1.12
Net Retail Price: ₱178.57
Step 2: The 20% Discount Shall Then Be Deducted From the Net Retail Price To Obtain the Senior Citizen Price
Net Retail Price: ₱178.58
Less 20% (178.58*0.20): ₱35.72
Senior Citizen’s Price: ₱142.86
What Is the Office of Senior Citizen’s Affairs (OSCA)?
RA 9994 provides the creation of the Office of the Senior Citizen’s Affairs (OSCA). OSCA is an office established in cities and municipalities under the Office of the Mayor. It shall be headed by a senior citizen.
OSCA shall be responsible for the following, among others:
- Draw up a list of available and required services that can be provided to senior citizens;
- Update the list of senior citizens in the city or municipality; issue national uniform individual identification cards and booklets which is valid anywhere in the country;
- Act as general information and liaison center for the needs of the senior citizen;
- Monitor compliance with the provisions of the RA 9994 and its IRR particularly the grant of special discounts and privileges to senior citizens and report to the Mayor any violations thereof;
- Assist senior citizens in filing complaints or charges against any person or entity who is refusing to comply with the privileges under the law;
- Assist and coordinate with the concerned person or entity in investigating fraudulent practices and abuses of the discount and privileges exclusively granted to senior citizens.
Tips and Warnings
- If the senior citizen is also a Person with a Disability (PWD), the Senior Citizen may use either the Senior Citizen Card or the PWD Discount.
- In case an establishment failed to honor the 20% discount, the Senior Citizen can go to the LGU OSCA where the purchase was made or where the senior citizen resides, whichever is convenient for the senior citizen.
- The 20% discount and VAT exemption also apply to purchases of goods or services the senior citizen pays through his/her credit card/s.
- Again, a double discount is not allowed. The senior citizen may choose either the senior citizen discount or the promotional discount of a product. However, only the senior citizen discount is exempted from VAT.
- Please note that services not medically necessary for treatment and diagnosis shall not be provided with any discounts. Examples are cosmetic surgery procedures and executive check-up packages, and physical examinations.
- The 20% discount and VAT exemption will only apply ONCE on the purchase of non-disposable medical devices for personal use such as weighing scale, blood pressure apparatus, and a glucometer15.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the 20% discount on transportation applicable to ride-hailing apps like Grab and Angkas? How?
Yes, the law mandates a 20% discount on all domestic public transportation. Grab and Angkas being public transportation, they are thus covered.
If you are a senior citizen, Grab requires you to pre-register on their website before you can be entitled to the discount. For more information, click here. For Angkas, the process is the same. You can register and fill out the form here.
2. Can I also apply the 20% discount on GrabFood and similar apps?
The law prescribes that the 20% discount also applies to food delivery. However, it only envisions a scenario where the order is taken via telephone. During telephone orders, a senior citizen can give his or her senior citizen ID and so the discount is deducted from the total bill prior to delivery. However, in an app, the latter is not designed or configured in such a way that the 20% discount is deducted from the bill.
The intent of the law is clear–to apply the discount to food delivery. Grab food and similar apps are food delivery, therefore, the discount should apply. In Grab’s website, they specify that the 20% discount is now applicable to Grab food delivery. Meanwhile, we’ve already confirmed earlier that Foodpanda likewise provides discounts for senior citizens (for specific instructions, please refer to the article above).
Companies doing food deliveries via an app should be directed to configure their app to allow senior citizen discounts otherwise the intent of the law is defeated.
3. Are elderly foreigners residing in the Philippines entitled to senior citizen discounts and benefits?
No. The law is clear. The benefits and privileges granted under RA 9994 only apply to Filipino citizens who are residents of the Philippines, and who are 60 years old and above.
It may also apply to senior citizens with “dual citizenship” status provided they proved their Filipino Citizenship and have at least six months of residency in the Philippines.
Thus, foreigners, even if residing in the Philippines, are excluded.
A bill (S.B. No. 2832) dated 11 May 2018 was introduced by Senator Francis Pangilinan extending the benefits and privileges under the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 to foreigners who are sixty (60) years old and above and residing in the Philippines. However, the bill slept in the Senate and did not ripen into law, hence, foreigners are still excluded.
4. Can a senior citizen bring a family member with him/her when using express lane privileges (e.g. airports, bus terminals, etc.)? How many family members can he or she bring?
Yes, a senior citizen can bring a family member who is not a senior citizen in the express lanes such as airports, trains, and bus terminals. The rule is that only one family member can accompany the senior citizen. In airports, it specifically provides that only one family member can join the senior citizen in the express lane.
In trains such as MRT and LRT, priority areas are provided where the senior citizen can be accompanied by one person in the designated area. By practice though and as confirmed by guards manning the designated area, two or more persons are sometimes allowed to accompany the senior citizen in the designated area if the train is not full and the latter does not know his or her destination; otherwise, the excess accompanying person shall be asked to board in a different cabin.
5. I know a person who was given a senior citizen card even though the person is not yet a senior citizen. Are there any penalties for a person illegally using the card? What are the penalties?
Yes, R.A. No. 9994 provides that any person violating the provisions of the law shall be penalized by a fine of not less than Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000) but not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000) and imprisonment for not less than two (2) years but not more than six (6) years for the first violation.
For the succeeding violation, a fine of not less than One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000) but not exceeding Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱200,000) and imprisonment for not less than two (2) years but not more than six (6) years for the said violation.
Any person who abuses the privileges granted under the law shall be punished by a fine of not less than Fifty Thousand Pesos (₱50,000) but not exceeding One Hundred Thousand Pesos (₱100,000) and imprisonment of not less than six (6) months.
If you are a foreigner violating any of the provisions of the law, you shall be deported immediately after service of sentence without further deportation proceedings.
The business permit, permit to operate, franchise, or the like of any person, business establishment, or entity shall also be canceled upon the filing of the complaint and after due notice and hearing.
6. Where shall I go if I have a complaint about an establishment violating the 20% discount rule?
All complaints on non-compliance with the 20% discount shall be lodged with the respective LGU OSCA Office where the purchase was made or where the senior citizen resides, whichever is convenient to the latter.
- Age and Sex Distribution in the Philippine Population (2020 Census of Population and Housing) (2022) Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). Available at: https://psa.gov.ph/population-and-housing/node/167965 (Accessed: 02 August 2023).
- Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 (2010).
- Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines. An Act Providing for the Mandatory PhilHealth Coverage of Senior Citizens (2014).
- Montemayor, Ma.T. (2020) DOH lauds signing of EO on medicine price cap, Philippine News Agency (PNA). Available at: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1094106 (Accessed: 02 August 2023).
- Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC), National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR). (2022). Joint Memorandum (JMC) No. 01 Series of 2022: Guidelines on the Provision of the Mandatory Statutory Benefits and Privileges of the Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities on Their Purchases Through Online (E-Commerce) and Phone Call/SMS. Retrieved from https://dilg.gov.ph/PDF_File/issuances/joint_circulars/dilg-joincircular-2022512_e701c93e48.pdf
- Senior Citizens (no date) Philippine Airlines. Available at: https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/before-you-fly/special-discounts/senior-citizen (Accessed: 10 August 2023).
- Cebu Pacific honors 20% discount for senior citizens, PWDs online (2017) Rappler. Available at: https://www.rappler.com/business/183220-cebu-pacific-discount-senior-citizens-persons-with-disabilities-online-bookings/ (Accessed: 10 August 2023).
- Is There A Special Fare For Senior Citizens, Children, Students Or Infants? (2023) AirAsia Support Center. Available at: https://support.airasia.com/s/article/Is-there-a-special-fare-for-senior-citizens-children-students-or-infants?language=en_GB (Accessed: 10 August 2023).
- Cruz, B.M. (2023) VAT exemption sought for seniors’ power, water bills, BusinessWorld. Available at: https://www.bworldonline.com/the-nation/2023/06/15/529061/vat-exemption-sought-for-seniors-power-water-bills/ (Accessed: 10 August 2023).
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