February 22, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government Cordillera reiterated its call to local government units to continue providing grants and privileges to senior citizens for their overall well-being and full participation in society.

“Let us be the answer to the hopes of millions of senior citizens who have been clamoring for a more effective implementation of laws and programs addressing the needs of the elderly. These measures will motivate and encourage our senior citizens to contribute to nation-building while also improving their lives,” DILG Regional Director Araceli San Jose said.

Republic Act 7432 or the Senior Citizens Act, amended by RA 9257 and 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act, mandates government to provide senior citizens with employment, education, health, public service, housing, public transport, and other assistance such as social pension and PhilHealth coverage.

The law also states senior citizens should be accorded 20 percent discount or exemption from the value added tax for their needs such as medicines, payment for influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, doctors’ fees in hospitals and other medical facilities, and medical and dental services in accordance with Department of Health and PhilHealth regulations.

Senior citizens are also granted 20 percent discount in public transportation, movie houses, concerts, funeral and burial services.

Senior citizens are also accorded five percent discount in electric and water consumption as long as the bills are under their names, and as long as their consumptions do not exceed 100 kilowatt-hours and 30 cubic meters.

Aside from discounts, San Jose said minimum wage-earning senior citizens are exempt from paying taxes as mandated by RA 9504 or The Minimum Wage, Personal Exemptions, Additional Exemptions, Optional Standard Deduction Act.

Also in Memorandum Circular 2023-045, LGUs need not to require senior citizens to submit additional requirements in case they want to provide them with additional benefits. They only need to present any of these identification cards: senior citizen ID from the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs, passport, or other document showing that the concerned person is 60 years old or over.

In addition to the barangay certificate, lease agreement, proof of billing, and valid government ID, LGUs are not required to request proof of residency from senior citizens.

LGUs are also mandated to give senior citizens free health, dental, and laboratory services in public hospitals and comparable facilities, in accordance with DOH and PhilHealth laws, whenever the need arises.

The government may also provide educational assistance for post-secondary, tertiary, post tertiary education, vocational or short courses to older adults who seek to continue their studies through scholarships, grants, subsidies, and other incentives.

The incentives include aid in the purchase of books, educational supplies, and school clothes, provided that the students pass their courses and shall meet minimum admission requirements.

LGUs are also encouraged to provide senior citizens with express lanes at private and public institutions, or give them priority if such lanes are unavailable. – Pamela T. Geminiano