• Senior citizens need to present proof of entitlement to lawful benefits

    Persida Acosta

    Persida Acosta

    Dear PAO,
    My grandmother asked me to buy her medicines because she is too frail to go out of the house. When I got to the drugstore, the salesperson gave me the total bill for all the medicines that my grandmother needed, but without discount. She said that she couldn’t give the senior citizen discount because I did not bring my grandmother’s identification card and booklet. Is this even right? Aren’t senior citizens given privileges under our laws? Can this salesperson be penalized for what she did? I hope you can enlighten me.

    Dear Mavel,
    You are correct in saying that senior citizens are given privileges and one of these privileges is the discount on the purchase of medicines. As clearly provided for under Section 4 of Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9994, otherwise known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010: “The senior citizens shall be entitled to the following: (a) the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT), if applicable, on the sale of the following goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of the senior citizen: (1) on the purchase of 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) x x x”.

    However, it is worth emphasizing that the grant of privileges to senior citizens is not without limitations. The law itself requires the concerned senior citizens to present proof of entitlement before they can avail themselves of the benefits granted by the law. Paragraph 2, Section 4 of Republic Act No. 9994 expressly states: “In the availment of the privileges mentioned above, the senior citizen, or his/her duly authorized representative, may submit as proof of his/her entitlement thereto any of the following: (1) an identification card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) of the place where the senior citizen resides: Provided, that the identification card issued by the particular OSCA shall be honored nationwide; (2) the passport of the senior citizen concerned; and (3) other documents that establish that the senior citizen is a citizen of the Republic and is at least sixty (60) years of age as further provided in the implementing rules and regulations.”

    Thus, the sales personnel of the drugstore where you bought the medicines of your grandmother can validly refuse to give you the twenty percent (20%) discount if you fail to present the senior citizen identification card and booklet or passport of your grandmother because she will have no basis to determine whether your grandmother is truly qualified for such benefit.

    Nonetheless, if you were able to present such proofs on behalf of your grandmother and you are still being denied the appropriate discount, then you may file a complaint against the concerned sales personnel. She may suffer the penalties of imprisonment and fine if you are able to establish that she violated the provisions of Republic Act No. 9994 (Section 7, R.A. No. 9994).

    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 dearpao@manilatimes.net


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    1. Many salesperson are wont to give the discounts to the senior citizens believing that they are doing a good job for their companies. Many of them are untrained and so they think that by not giving the discount they are also saving the discount money for their companies. Many sales personnel are not properly trained by their managers that the senior citizens discounts given by their companies are deductible from the companies’ tax liabilities. In which case, it is the government who shoulders the benefit of the senior citizen discounts.

    2. Hi.
      Is it really necessary to submit authorization letter in purchasing meds/foods for senior citizens even if you already gave senior citizen id? Many establishments such Mercury drug and Mang Inasal require us to submit authorization letter together with the OSCA id but other establishments don’t.
      In paragraph 2 sec4 of RA9994, giving of authorization letter was not mentioned. Please enlightened us. Thank you.