MANILA -- Senior citizens have started to enjoy a full 20 percent discount since the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on tax exemption took effect Tuesday.
Last June, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) signed the IRR for Republic Act (RA) 9994 also known as the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, granting additional privileges to citizens 60 years old and above.
The law states that senior citizens would no longer need to pay the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of goods and services.
They are also entitled to discounts on land, sea and air fare; admission to movie theatres and the likes; and a P500 monthly social pension for indigent senior citizens, which shall be subject to availability of funds.
Other benefits include a five percent discount on electric and water consumption provided that the monthly consumption should not exceed 100 kilowatt hours electricity and 30 cubic meters of water.
They are also accorded with five percent discount of medical related privileges.
Senator Pia Cayetano, who authored the bill in the Senate, however still urged the new Cabinet members of President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III to carry out the full implementation of RA 9994.
She called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to ensure that the senior citizens enjoy all the law's benefits.
Although the IRR has taken effect, it also gives the BIR another 30 days to come up with revenue guidelines that shall cover new invoicing procedures, reportorial requirements, and a system for claiming tax deductions.
“I hope the concerned agencies under their new leadership would not have to wait out for the deadline before carrying out their respective tasks under the IRR," Cayetano said.
“Our senior citizens have waited long enough, and should not be made to wait unnecessarily much longer," she added.
Former House Speaker Prospero Nograles, one of the advocates of the measure, meanwhile, said he feels proud to have passed the bill under his leadership in the lower chamber of the 14th Congress.
"I am also a senior citizen and I'm so happy we passed this in my watch in Congress," he told Sun.Star.
Aside from Nograles, the leading authors and advocates of the measure are, among others: Representatives Eduardo Zialcita (Paranaque, first district), Ferdinand Martin Romualdez (Leyte, first district), Cynthia Villar (Las Pinas City), Mary Ann Susano (Quezon City, second district), Carlos Padilla (Nueva Vizcaya), Mauricio Domogan (Baguio), Antonio Cuenco (Cebu City, second district), Roilo Golez (Paranaque, second district), Diosdado 'Dato' Arroyo (Camarines Sur, first district), Bayan Muna representatives Teddy Casino and Satur Ocampo, and Deputy Speakers Ma. Amelita Villarosa and Raul del Mar.
Any person who refuses to honor the senior citizens’ identification card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs shall face the appropriate violations.
For the first violation, a fine of not less than P50,000 but not exceeding P100,000 and imprisonment of not less than two years but not more than six years will be imposed.
For any subsequent violation, a fine of not less than P100,000 but not exceeding P200,000 and imprisonment for not less than two years but not more than six years.
If the offender is an alien or a foreigner, they shall be deported immediately after service of sentence without further deportation proceedings.
Upon filing of the complaint, the proper authorities may also cause the cancellation of the business permit granted to any person or establishment. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)