A Senior Citizen ID card holder may enjoy two free movies at cinemas in Quezon City on specific days. When dining or buying medicines, they are granted a 20% discount off of the cost of their meals and medications. They are also given priority seats in public transportation and are granted the best slots in parking areas.
All’s well until they find themselves lined up at grocery counters. Most first time SC card holders are surprised to find out that the 20% discount and VAT exemption applied on certain goods and services for use and enjoyment of Senior Citizens are not applicable on grocery items.
What are the discountable goods and services mentioned in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000?
Our research on this topic led us back to the RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000 where it is clearly emphasized that the 20% discount and VAT exemption are applicable to the charges on the following goods and services ONLY:
- 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);
- Professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services;
- Professional fees of licensed professional health providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;
- 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;
- Actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses, public utility jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, trains;
- Actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking;
- Utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, and recreation centers;
- Admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement, and
- Funeral and burial services for the death of the senior citizen.
The 5% Discount on Basic Commodities
While the 20% Senior Citizen discount is not applicable on grocery items, Senior Citizens may demand for the 5% discount for certain grocery purchases that fall under the “basic necessities and prime commodities” category.
According to DTI-DA Administrative Order No. 10-02, Senior Citizens are entitled to a special discount of 5% of the regular retail price, without exemption from value-added tax, of basic necessities, such as:
- Bread (any shape and name, excluding pastries and cakes)
- Fresh, dried, and canned fish and other marine products
- Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat
- Fresh eggs
- Fresh and processed milk
- Fresh vegetables including root crops
- Coffee and creamer
- Cooking oil
- Powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap
- Fresh fruits
- Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef and poultry meat
- Dairy products
- Geriatric diapers
- Poultry, swine, and cattle feeds
- Veterinary products of poultry, swine, and cattle
- Nipa shingle, plyboard, and construction nails
- Electrical supplies and light bulbs
- Steel wire
Can Senior Citizens avail of the 5% special discount on these items anytime?
This is where it gets a bit tricky.
When availing of the 5% special discount, the total amount of the purchase must not exceed Php 1,300 per calendar week. The unused amount for the current week shall not be carried over to the following week. Be reminded as well that the items must be commensurate to the personal and exclusive consumption of the senior citizen within the calendar week and that the amount allocated shall be spent on at least four (4) kinds of items only.
This is also the reason why most cities and municipalities require Senior Citizens to present, not just their IDs, but their Senior Citizen booklets as well. This is their way of monitoring the purchases made by the Senior Citizen and if he may still avail of the 5% special discount for a particular week.