Joint panel presses on into senior, PWD discounts violations

THE  House Committees on Ways and Means and on Senior Citizens, as well Special Committee on Persons with Disabilities resumed on Tuesday their joint motu proprio inquiry into the implementation gaps of  existing laws that provide discounts, incentives, and tax exemptions for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWD). 

These laws include Republic Act 7277 or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons,” as amended, and RA 7432 or the “Senior Citizens Act” as amended. 

The panel engaged in consultation with business establishments to ascertain their implementation of the discounts and privileges mandated by laws for seniors and PWDs. 

The objective is to identify the specific parts and policies that require amendment or repeal. 

Zamboanga Sibugay Rep. Wilter Palma suggested to look into the Department of Trade and Industry – Department of Agriculture (DTI-DA) Joint Administrative Order No. 10-02, series of 2010, which imposes a ceiling of P1,300 for offline and online purchases per calendar week, for basic necessities and prime commodities.

KABAYAN Party-list Rep. Ron Salo, however, proposed that the administrative order can be modified at any moment without necessitating a change in the law or just by raising the P1,300 threshold.

San Juan City Rep. Ysabel Maria Zamora proposed the concept of a national identification card for senior citizens and PWDs while Batangas City Rep. Mario Vittorio Marino recommended the integration of senior citizens and PWDs’ data into the national ID system. 

The panel also deliberated on the potential removal of purchase booklets being issued to senior citizens and PWDs, with multiple stakeholders expressing their endorsement of this proposition. 

Drug Stores Association of the Philippines (DSAP) President Vicente Billiones said small and independent pharmacies or drug stores cannot just eliminate the purchase booklet since it serves as their reference to determine whether senior citizens or those with disabilities are adhering to their prescribed medications. 

He added that the absence of purchase booklet could potentially lead to the misuse of drugs, and that independent drug stores cannot offer the full 20 percent discount as compared to what the larger pharmacies can provide.