You bet. Among other benefits it covers:
• Purchase of medicines, including influenza and pneumococcal vaccines and other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment; and
• Actual fare for land travel in public utility jeepneys, taxis, Asian utility vehicles and shuttle services.
Moreover, additional incentives and benefits are also granted to senior citizens, as follows:
• Free vaccination against influenza and pneumococcal disease for indigent senior citizens;
• Benefit assistance to the nearest kin of a deceased indigent senior citizen worth P2,000.
• Five percent (5%) discount on water and electric bills registered in the name of the senior citizen, provided that consumption is below 100 kilowatt-hours of electricity and 30 cubic meters of water a month; as well as
• Additional government assistance, i.e., social pension/monthly stipend of P500, mandatory Phil Health coverage, and social assistance (food, medicines and financial assistance). What Philippine Law Covers These Senior Citizen Benefits?RA (Republic Act) 9994, know as The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010
Who is covered by this act? Residents of the Philippines who are citizens of the Philippines who have attained the age of 60 years.Only Philippine Citizens
may legally use the discounts and other benefits covered by RA 9994. if you are a former Filipino (as in living here under a 13(g) permanent visa, you are not a Filipino citizen for the purposes of this law, so the law does not cover you either.) The language was written the way it is for a specific purpose … to distinctly define who is eligible … and there are a number of foreigners who have long believed they were entitled to the senior discount privileges … and even some who already avail of them … but the new law is pretty specific. Only Philippine Citizens are covered.
In the early 90’s, the first law on senior citizens, RA 7432, was enacted to maximize the contribution of senior citizens to nation building and to grant them benefits and special privileges. Among others, this law granted the senior citizens a 20% discount on purchases of essential goods and services. Many of the official/semi-official writings I have seen on this law seem to be confusing about its applicability to permanent residents, as well as Philippine citizens … but the law itself says, specifically, that the Senior Citizen discount privileges and accompanying identification documentation is for Filipino Citizens only.
Subsequently in 2003, RA 7432 was amended by RA 9257, otherwise known as the "Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003," which granted additional benefits and privileges to senior citizens.
There is also specific procedures in RA 9257 that allow government officials, such as barangay captains, to grant the issuance of the Senior Citizen ID to others, including foreigners, if they make specific and documented contributions to their local community.
However, you’ll note that there is no such provision in the most current law, RA 9994 … so no citizenship, no ID seems to be the clear intent.
With every Philippine law comes what some would consider the “fine print”. The IRR (Implementing Rules and Regulations). I believe there may yet be changes in the IRR for RA 9994, but here is a link to them as they are currently published.
For those of you who are already warming up your keyboard to tell me how I am ‘all wet” on this, and how you already have your own Senior Citizen card, or how your Former Filipino wife has hers, or how Larry down at the VFW told you different, and Larry certainly knows what he is talking about … save your breath..
Tell Larry, or whomever else wants to argue, that they should, in particular, read Article 24, Sections 3 and Sections 4 of the referenced IRR.
Use of the Senior Citizen privilege by a person not entitled to use the privilege is punishable by a fine of not less than P50,000 and a prison sentence of not less than six months.
Sounds like a pretty stiff penalty, to me, to try to save 20% on the purchase of a bucket of chicken.
However, as you’ve no doubt heard Ron Popeil say, “But wait, there’s more!” The jail time and fines are in Section 3. Section 4 is short and sweet, and applies to most of us reading this: “If the offender is an alien or a foreigner, he/she shall be deported immediately after service of sentence without further deportation proceedings”
So, now you know. As a foreigner, or former Filipino you cannot avail of the Senior Citizen Discount Program in the Philippines. If for some reason you have a card already and you are not a Philippine Citizen? Well, that, of course, is up to you … those 20% discounts that you are getting are at the benefit of the poor people of the Philippines … nothing comes for free in this world). I can’t see how the promise of an occasional discount can be worth the very real risk of a substantial fine, a mandatory jail sentence and then deportation.
Reprinted with permission from PhilFAQ’s [firstname.lastname@example.org