June 19, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Speaker Romualdez calls probe on firms not honoring PWD, Senior Citizens’ discounts

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday directed the appropriate committee in the House of Representatives to investigate, in aid of legislation, reports of denying discounts to senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) under existing laws.

Speaker Romualdez, the leader of 300-plus strong House of Representatives, is calling for a motu proprio investigation of several instances of violations of Republic Act (RA) No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 and R.A. 10754 or an Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of PWDs, which provides benefits for seniors and PWDs.

“Laws granting benefits to our senior citizens and PWDs should be strictly followed and implemented. And if there are several instances of the improper grant of these privileges and benefits, it becomes the common practice. So it cannot remain unchecked,” Romualdez expressed.

“This is what we hope to achieve in this investigation, to clarify the law and correct all their misconceptions and wrong implementation. Madaming tanong ang ating mga senior citizen at PWDs, bibigyan natin sila ng pagkakataon kapag nagsimula na ang pagdinig sa Kongreso,” he continued.

One such possible violation is the reported policy of a popular coffee shop chain that limits the 20% discount and exemption from the 12% value added tax to only one food item and one drink per visit for seniors and PWDs.

Just recently, the Pasig City Prosecutors Office filed two cases against two officials of a Pasig hotel for declining to grant a 20-percent discount to a senior citizen. 

They were charged for violating two senior citizen laws: Section 4 (a)(7) of Republic Act 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 and Article 116 of Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Act of the Philippines. 

“Flagrant violations of the laws that grant benefits to our senior citizens and PWDs are trending topics on social media these past few months. It is high time that the House of Representatives review the implementation of these laws and find out if business establishments are complying with every provision,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“Until our probe is completed, we urge local authorities and government agencies to step up and ensure the proper and effective implementation of discounts granted to seniors and PWDs across businesses and service providers in the country,” he added.

Speaker Romualdez is the principal author of R.A. 10754 or an Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of PWDs. 

The law was enacted in 2016 and exempts more than 1.9 million PWDs from the 12-percent VAT on certain goods and services.

This is on top of the 20-percent discount PWDs enjoy under R.A. 9442 or the law that amended and expanded the coverage of R.A. 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

He called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) to make an update on the implementation of a law.

“Napakahalaga na masiguro ng DSWD at ng NCDA na may compliance sa ating mga batas. At para naman sa ating panukalang imbestigasyon, importante ito sa performance ng ating oversight functions na siguruhin ang tamang implementasyon ng mga batas. Bahagi ito ng ating checks and balances,” Speaker Romualdez said.

“I believe that discounts granted to senior citizens and PWDs should not be limited in any way, for as long as they are for their use and personal consumption. Of course, we should also prevent the abuse of these benefits and privileges. Lahat ng ito ay titingnan natin sa ating imbestigasyon,” Speaker Romualdez expressed.

R.A. 10754 was authored by Romualdez, Sen. Sonny Angara, former Sen. Ralph Recto who was recently appointed as Secretary of Finance, and other lawmakers.