I am a manager at a restaurant in a mall. We have regular senior citizen customers who usually avail of their senior citizen discounts. The owner of the restaurant I am managing instructed me to be stricter in giving discounts to our senior citizen customers. With this in mind, the owner implemented a new policy wherein no senior citizen discount shall be given unless the customers can present their official senior citizen identification card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs or OSCA.
A lot of our senior citizen customers are questioning this policy since some of them do not always have their OSCA cards with them. Instead, they usually present other government-issued IDs such as driver’s license or SSS ID card. But because of the owner’s policy, I am constrained to insist on requiring our senior citizen customers to present their OSCA ID cards before I can give them discounts. This resulted in numerous disagreements with our customers. Because of this, I want to ask if there is validity in the policy of our restaurant in requiring only OSCA ID before allowing senior citizens to avail of their discounts.
Requiring senior citizens to present only their Office of Senior Citizens Affairs or OSCA-issued Senior Citizen identification (ID) card before they can avail of senior citizen discounts is without legal basis. The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 9994, known as the Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010 provides that senior citizens 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 IRR enumerates the documents that can be presented aside from a senior citizen ID card that will allow them to avail of the benefits and privileges for senior citizens, to wit:
“5.5 Identification Document – refers to any document or proof of being a senior citizen 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 Citizen Identification 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 documents indicating an elderly’s birth date or age: driver’s license, voter’s ID, SSS/GSIS [Social Security System/Government Service Insurance System] ID, PRC [Professional Regulation Commission] card, postal ID.” (Article 5.5, Rule 3, Emphasis supplied)
This provision clearly shows that the senior citizen ID card issued by the OSCA 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. Other government-issued documents that show the card holder’s age are sufficient and valid documents to avail of the benefits for senior citizens. Therefore, your restaurant’s refusal to honor other valid IDs aside from the OSCA-issued senior citizen ID card is unjustified. As explained above, driver’s license and SSS IDs that reveal their age can be used and should be honored in the absence of their senior citizen ID. Such documents can prove their status as senior citizens to grant them their entitled discounts in their purchases.
You should remind the owner of the restaurant, your employer, that 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).
To reiterate, while the OSCA-issued senior citizen identification card is the primary document used to avail of their discount and privileges, the law is clear that this is not the only document that can be presented by senior citizens for them to avail of their discounts. As long as they can present any government-issued ID that shows their age as senior citizens, then establishment owners have no choice but to grant them the discounts that they are legally entitled to.
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.