It was my aunt’s first time to use her Senior Citizen’s identification card since she only turned 60 years old last month. She was able to avail of a 20-percent discount in the movie house, but got dismayed when she went to the supermarket later because she was only given 5-percent discount on certain grocery items. She was really expecting to be given the same 20-percent discount and on all items. She was told by the cashier that the 20-percent discount is not applicable to grocery items, according to her supervisor. Is this correct? I hope you can enlighten us.
Republic Act (RA) 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, provides numerous benefits and privileges for qualified senior citizens. Perhaps the most common of which is the 20 percent discount and exemption from the value -added tax (VAT) on the sale of the certain goods and services for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of the senior citizen. (Section 4 (a), Id)
It must be emphasized, however, that the 20-percent discount and exemption from VAT is only applicable to the charges on the following goods and services: (1) medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH); (2) professional fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care services; (3) professional fees of licensed professional health providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies; (4) medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the DOH, in coordination with PhilHealth; (5) actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses (PUBs), public utility jeepneys (PUJs), taxis, Asian utility vehicles (AUVs), shuttle services and public railways, including Light Rail Transit (LRT), Mass Rail Transit (MRT), and Philippine National Railways (PNR); (6) actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking; (7) utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers; (8) admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement; and (9) funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens (Id.)
As can be gleaned from the provision above, grocery items are not included in the foregoing enumeration. Hence, senior citizens may not demand the grant of 20-percent discount from supermarket, grocery owners and the like. Congruently, the cashier is correct in informing your aunt that she may not avail of a 20-percent discount on the items that she has purchased from the supermarket.
But senior citizens such as your aunt, may demand a 5-percent discount for certain grocery items that are considered as basic necessities and prime commodities. Pursuant to Section 3 of Department Administrative Order No. 03, Series of 2005 of the Department of Trade and Industry, senior citizens shall enjoy a special discount of 5 percent the regular retail price of basic necessities and prime commodities listed under Section 2 (a) thereof, to wit: (1) canned sardines, tuna; (2) evaporated, condensed and powdered filled milk; (3) coffee; (4) bread; (5) white and brown sugar; (6) cooking oil; (7) instant noodles; (8) luncheon meat, meat loaf, corned beef, frozen and refrigerated/preserved, ready-to-cook pork, beef and chicken; and (9) powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap. The only limitation to this grant is that, “x x x The total amount of the said purchase shall not exceed the amount of Six Hundred Fifty Pesos (P650.00) per calendar week without carry over of the unused amount. Provided that said amount shall be spent on at least four (4) kinds of term listed under Section 2 (a) of this order” (Id.)
We hope that we were able to answer your queries. Please be reminded that this advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.
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