Senior citizens’ rights advocate and election lawyer Romulo Macalintal sought the help of a group of businessmen for the implementation of his proposal to pool together some unused or unclaimed senior citizens’ discount, more specifically on the mandatory 5-percent discount on grocery items, electric and water consumption.
In his lecture before the officers and members of the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) on April 16 on the occasion of the group’s 8th Members’ General Meeting held at the Henry Sy Auditorium, St. Luke Medical Center, Taguig City, Macalintal said that “even if only 1.0 percent of our seven million senior citizens or say 50,000 would participate in this project, we could generate close to P240 million.”
He added the amount is enough to build almost every year a home for the aged or modern medical facilities for senior citizens.
“A substantial number of senior citizens are not aware that under RA [Republic Act No.] 9994, they are entitled to 5 percent discount on weekly purchase of grocery items not to exceed P1,300 per week; 5 percent discount of the cost of water or electrical consumption bills not exceeding 100 kilowatt-hours [kWh], and 30 cubic meters provided utility meters are registered in their names,” he added.
“The law is sometimes not properly implemented due to the failure of the senior citizens to comply with certain requirements like non-registration one’s the owner turns 60 years old or become a senior citizen, or some believe the discount is not that much to be worth the hassle to claim,” Macalintal told his audience.
With 50,000 senior citizens as his base, Macalintal gave the following calculations: for grocery items, 5 percent of P1,300 per week will equal P65 per week or P260 per month per senior citizen. The P260 multiplied by 50,000 senior citizens will yield P13 million per month or P156 million per year; for electricity, the average 5-percent discount on 100 kWh is P55 per month multiplied by 50,000 senior citizens is P2.7 million per month or P33M per year; and for water bills, the average 5-percent discount for 30 cubic meters is P85 per month multiplied by 50,000 senior citizens is P4.25 million per month or P51 million per year.
“Thus, if we add these unclaimed senior citizens discount, we have that overwhelming total of P240 million unused discount, which is more than enough to build and maintain a home for the aged or medical facilities for senior citizens with enough supply of food and medicines. And even if only one-half of this amount or P120 million a year is pooled together, we can practically build medical facilities or houses for the indigent senior citizens almost every year,” Macalintal said.
He thus called all senior citizens to place all their unclaimed discounts to a common fund.
“We could execute a waiver in favor of a Trust Fund to be managed by able and credible managers in the likes of Manny V. Pangilinan, former Chief Justice Reynato Puno, and former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban. And thereafter, we could look forward to a brighter and happier group of Filipino senior citizens with a common cause,” Macalintal added.