I am a senior citizen who recently encountered a problem in getting a senior citizen’s discount in a restaurant I visited. Upon paying the food I ordered, I told the cashier that I am a senior citizen and I asked for the discount given to senior citizens like me. The cashier then asked for my senior citizen’s ID, which I realized I forgot to bring. But I have my postal ID with me at the time that I presented in place of my senior citizen’s ID but the cashier refused to honor it and insisted that I will not be given a discount without my senior citizen’s ID. Since I was not sure what to do, I just paid the regular price. Because of this incident, I would like to clarify if similar food establishments can rightly refuse giving dis–counts if a senior citizen has no senior citizen’s ID. And can such establishments be penalized for wrongfully refusing to provide senior citizen discounts? Thank you and God bless!
According to Republic Act (RA) 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010, Filipinos 60 years old and above are classified as senior citizens who are granted specific privileges by the State through this law.
Among the many privileges granted to senior citizens are discounts for services and products they bought. Foods sold in establishments such as in restaurants are included in those required by law to provide specific discounts for senior citizens.
Such discounts and other privileges are availed of primarily by presenting documents establishing their status as senior citizens. And in connection with this, the senior citizen identification card is the primary document used to avail of these discounts and privileges.
Senior citizens, however, can still avail of their privileges even without a senior citizen ID if they can present other valid documents showing their identification and age. The Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9994 enumerates the documents that can be presented aside from a senior citizen’s ID that will allow them to avail of the benefits and privileges for senior citizens:
“5.5 Identification Do–cument—refers to any document or proof of being a senior citi- zen which may be used for the availment of benefits and privileges under the Act and its Rules. It shall be any of the following:
a) Senior Citizens’ Identi–fication Card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens
Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where the elderly resides;
b) The Philippine passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned; and
c) Other valid documents that establish the senior citizen or elderly person as a citizen of the Republic and at least sixty (60) years of age, which shall include but not be limited to the following government-issued identification docu–ments indicating an elderly’s birthdate or age: driver’s license, voters ID, SSS/GSIS ID, PRC card, postal ID” (Article 5.5, Rule 3).
This provision clearly shows that the senior citizen ID is just one of the documents that can be presented as proof of having a senior citizen status in order to avail of the specific privileges. Passports and other government-issued documents, including the postal ID that you presented, are sufficient and valid documents to avail of the benefits for senior citizens. Thus, the refusal made by the restaurant is unjustified since your postal ID can be used and should be honored in the absence of your senior citizen ID to prove your status as a senior citizen and entitle you to the necessary discounts in your purchases.
Lastly, establishments found to be in violation of the provisions of this law can be penalized with a fine ranging from Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) to Two Hundred Thousand Pesos (P200.000.00) with an imprisonment ranging from two (2) years to six (6) years depending on the frequency of the violation of the law (Article 27, Rule 7, IRR of RA 9994).
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org