Senior citizens are thanking Sen. Grace Poe for filing a resolution seeking a Senate inquiry into violations of rights of the elderly under the Senior Citizens Law, or Republic Act (RA) 9994, according to an advocate of senior citizens’ rights.
“We, the senior citizens, have been looking for someone to take the cudgels for us in Congress because there are hundreds of establishments [that]wittingly or unwittingly violate provisions of the law or whose personnel are not properly oriented to comply with rules and regulations” of RA 9994, Romulo Macalintal, also an election lawyer, said in a statement on Thursday.
The Senior Citizens Law has existed since 1992 with amendments made in 2010 and, Macalintal noted, it took a first-time senator to make a serious effort to look into actual incidents of repeated and frequent violations of the law.
He said Poe’s resolution was based on cases that he filed against certain establishments that did not honor other government-issued identification cards as proof of the age of a senior citizen.
The senator cited the case of a hotel that refused to grant Macalintal the mandatory 20 percent discount for senior citizens on the ground that the item was covered by its sales promotion.
Only recently, the Department of Trade and Industry ruled that the 20 percent discount to which a senior citizen is entitled is over and above the promotion price if the “promo” is not approved by the DTI.
To give more teeth to the law, Macalintal suggested that Poe call on mayors or governors to strictly apply Section 7 of RA 9994, which gives them the power to cancel or revoke business permits of these establishments, after due notice and hearing, once a complaint for violation of the law is filed against them.
Meanwhile, he said there is no violation committed by grocery stores giving a flat rate of P65 for grocery items purchased by a senior citizen because it is equivalent to 5 percent of the P1,300 weekly purchase by a senior citizen that was set by the DTI and the Department of Agriculture under DTI-DA Joint Administrative Order 10-02, Series of 2010 pursuant to Section 4, RA 9994 and Section 4(j) of its Implementing Rules and Regulations.
Macalintal also suggested that Poe look into the provision of RA 9994 that grants senior citizens a 5 percent discount on electric and water consumption but limits its application to senior citizens whose electric consumption does not exceed 100 kilowatt hours or whose water consumption does not exceed 30 cubic meters (cm).