Social Welfare office clarifies use of senior citizen cards

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


ONLY identification cards issued by the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) will be honored by various establishments required to give 20 percent discount to the elderly.

Social Welfare Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman issued the clarification amid questions on the acceptability of membership cards issued by senior citizens associations under the Expanded Senior Citizen's Act.

"No Filipino elderly should be forced to become a member of a senior citizens association if one does not want to, nor should an older person be threatened that he or she cannot avail of senior citizens' benefits without said membership," she said.

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Soliman added that senior citizens ID cards issued by the OSCA are the only valid ID required by business establishments and medical facilities to avail of the 20 percent discount under the law.

Senior citizens are Filipinos who are 60 years old and above and are currently residing in the country. There are six million elderly people in the Philippines.

"At present, the OSCA-issued IDs will be used since it maintains its value as a standard document proving one's seniority, and is valid anywhere in the country. Eventually, once the intended beneficiaries have already been identified, prospective social pensioners will be issued a proper ID card for that purpose," Soliman explained.

Various senior citizens associations, such as the Federation of Senior Citizens Associations of the Philippines (FSCAP), Veterans Federation of the Philippines (VRF), and the Association of Retired Postal Employees and Senior Citizens (Arpes), may continue to issue ID cards to their members.

"However, these membership cards will not entitle the senior citizens to avail of the 20 percent discount nor qualify them as beneficiaries for social pension," Soliman noted.

Estimates from the Department of Finance show that the law would result in a revenue loss of P1.68 billion each year as the government tries to plug leaks in its tax collection effort.

Signed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last year, the law gives discounts to senior citizens who avail of medicines, accessories, and equipment, fees of attending physicians, medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory works, and public transportation fares.

The scheme also applies to admission fees to cinemas, leisure and culture venues; hotel and restaurant service and similar establishments, and funeral and burial services for senior citizens. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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