My parents who just turned 60 years old last January and February 2017 are now enjoying the privileges given to senior citizens like discounts on fares and others. But my father is complaining about the local water service provider in our municipality because, allegedly, the latter did not grant the discount intended for senior citizens. The water district office allegedly refused to give my father the 10-percent discount he is asking for despite presentation of his Senior Citizen’s Identification Card, as well as, that of my mother. Further, the water district office claimed that my father is only entitled to a 5-percent discount regardless of how many senior citizens are living in a certain house. Is the refusal of the water district office to grant the discount to my parents considered a violation of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act?
Section 4 (c) of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 specifically states:
“The grant of a minimum of five percent (5 percent) discount relative to the monthly utilization of water and electricity supplied by the public utilities: Provided, That the individual meters for the foregoing utilities are registered in the name of the senior citizen residing therein: Provided, further, That the monthly consumption does not exceed one hundred kilowatt hours (100 kWh) of electricity and thirty cubic meters (30 m3) of water: Provided, furthermore, That the privilege is granted per household regardless of the number of senior citizens residing therein.”
Based on the above-mentioned provision of law, the grant of five percent (5 percent) discount to the monthly utilization of water is per household and is not based on the number of senior citizens residing in one household. It is also a requirement that the water account (water bill) be registered in the name of the senior citizen applying for discount and that the monthly water consumption should not exceed thirty cubic meters (30 m3), so that the discount will be granted.
Hence, the demand of your father to be granted the ten percent (10 percent) discount based on the number of senior citizens residing in the household has no legal basis. The water district office is actually correct in merely granting the five percent (5 percent) discount as clearly stated in the law.
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