Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. yesterday pushed the grant of a cash gift to all senior citizens in the country as a way of recognizing their valuable contributions to the country.
Marcos said under the present system, only senior citizens from large-income cities enjoy cash gifts from their respective local government units. This, he pointed out, puts other senior citizens in other cities and municipalities at a disadvantage.
“There is need to equalize the benefits given to our senior citizens so that there would be no discrimination. The cash gift is one way of recognizing their veritable contributions to their communities and society and it should be given to all senior citizens all over the country,” Marcos said.
Cities in Metro Manila give cash gifts to their senior citizens ranging from P1,000 to P4,000 a year.
He pointed out that the cash gift will be given on top of the benefits granted under the Expanded Senior Citizens’ Act of 2010 (Republic Act 9994) which include a 20 percent discount on purchases and exemption from value-added tax, income tax exemption and mandatory PhilHealth coverage.
The senator also lauded the ruling of the Department of Justice affirming the right of senior citizens to use any government-issued identification card to avail themselves of their benefits under RA 9994.
Marcos said there has been much confusion over the refusal of some establishments to honor government-issued IDs before giving the senior citizens’ benefits because of the conflicting provisions of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9994.
Article 5 of Rule III of the IRR states that to avail himself of the senior citizens benefits, a senior citizen must present any government issued ID. However Article 6 of Rule IV of the same IRR also provides that a senior citizen may only use the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA)-issued senior citizen’s ID.
“As a result, establishments refuse to grant them discounts if they do not show their OSCA ID. I am glad it has been clarified because the law is very clear that a senior citizen may show any government-issued ID to get his or her benefits,” Marcos asserted.
He said there is a need to amend the IRR to prevent further confusion.
“There’s an oversight and it should be rectified the soonest to prevent further misunderstanding,” he said.
Marcos also enjoined senior citizens to immediately report establishments that shortchange them of their benefits.
“The law provides penalties for violations and every senior citizen should assert his/her right to the discounts and other benefits and file a complaint before the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs in their respective LGUs. But, more importantly, the government must make sure it protects our senior citizens from being deprived of their full rights and benefits,” Marcos said.