Today, my father-in-law celebrates his 60th birthday. His friends calls him a dual citizen; a Filipino citizen and Senior citizen. No...

Today, my father-in-law celebrates his 60th birthday. His friends calls him a dual citizen; a Filipino citizen and Senior citizen. Now let us check some of the rights and privileges of a Senior Citizen under our laws.

SENIOR CITIZEN or elderly refers to any resident citizen of the Philippines at least sixty (60) years old.

Article XIII, Section 11 of the Constitution provides that the Sate shall adopt an integrated and comprehensive approach to health development which shall endeavor to make essential goods, health and other social services available to all the people at affordable cost. There shall be priority for the needs of the underprivileged, sick, elderly, disabled, women and children. Article XV, Section 4 of the Constitution Further declares that it is the duty of the family to take care of its elderly members while the State may design programs of social security for them.

Consistent with these constitutional principles, RA 9994 was enacted
a.      To recognize the rights of senior citizens to take their proper place in society and make it a concern of the family, community, and government;
b.      To give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of the elderly and their full participation in society, considering that senior citizens are integral part of Philippine society;
c.      To motivate and encourage the senior citizens to contribute to nation building;
d.   To encourage their families and the communities they live with to reaffirm the valued Filipino tradition of caring for the senior citizens;
e.   To provide a comprehensive health care and rehabilitation system for disabled senior citizens to foster their capacity to attain a more meaningful and productive ageing; and
f.    To recognize the important role of the private sector in the improvement of the welfare of senior citizens and to actively seek their partnership.

Senior citizens are entitled to the following:
a)     Discount privileges,
b)    Free services,
c)     Exemptions,
d)    Incentives,
e)     Government financial assistance, and
f)      Priority in express lanes.

The 20% senior citizens discount and VAT-exemption shall apply only to the following purchases of goods and services, when applicable:
a)     The purchase of medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines, and such other essential medical supplies, accessories and equipment;

b)  The professional fees of attending physician/s in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics and home health care services;

c)   The professional fees of licensed professional health workers providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;

d)    Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory fees in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services, in accordance with the rules and regulations to be issued by the' DOH, in coordination with the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth);

e)   Actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses (PUBs), public utility jeepneys (PUJs), taxis, Asian utility vehicles (AUVs), shuttle services and public railways, including Light Rail Transit (LRT), Mass Rail Transit (MRT) , and Philippine National Railways (PNR);

f)      Actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking;

g)   The utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers;

h)  Admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, carnivals, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement; and

i)      Funeral and burial services for the death of senior citizens;

Funeral and burial services subject to the 20% discount which includes the purchase of the casket or urn, embalming, cremation costs, pick-up of the body from the morgue, transport for burial at his/her hometown, but excluding obituary publication and the cost of the memorial lot.

The special 5% discount privilege applies only to prime commodities and basic necessities as listed under the Price Act or Republic Act No. 7581.
a)   BASIC NECESSITIES such as rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, fresh pork, beef and poultry, meat, fresh eggs, fresh and processed milk, fresh vegetables, root crops, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, detergents;

b)    PRIME COMMODITIES like fresh fruits, flour, dried, processed and canned pork, beef and poultry, meat, dairy products not falling under basic necessities; noodles, onions, garlic; and

c)     All drugs not classified as essential drugs by the DOH and other commodities that may be classified by the DTI and the DA according to Republic Act No. 7581 or The Price Act

Senior citizens can avail of the 20% discount on food purchases whether take-out/take-home, drive-thru or by delivery as long as the food purchase is for the personal consumption of the senior citizen and he/she is able to show an OSCA-issued ID, the 20% discount must be granted.

They are entitled to the following free medical benefits:
a)     Medical and dental services, diagnostic and laboratory tests requested by the physician such as but not limited to X-rays, computerized tomography scans, and blood tests availed of by senior citizens, including professional fees of attending doctors in all government hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health care services,
b)    Free pneumoccocal and influenza vaccine for indigent senior citizens.

Moreover, they are also entitled to utility discounts:
a)     50% discount on electric, water and telephone consumption on senior citizens centers and residential/group homes as a form of “institutional support”; and
b)   5% discount on electric consumption not exceeding 100 kwhrs and water consumption not exceeding 30 cubic meters for households with senior citizens residing therein and under whose name the separate meters are registered.

Other Government financial assistance are also available to them which includes:
a)     Monthly Social Pension of P500 to be given to indigent senior citizens; and
b)    Death Benefit Assistance of P2,000 to be given to the nearest surviving relative who cared for the deceased senior citizen until his/her death.

A senior citizen, or a duly authorized representative, must present an ORIGINAL AND VALID senior citizens identification card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where he/she resides, with the necessary purchase booklet for medicines, or the purchase booklet for basic necessities/prime commodities, when applicable.

To apply for a senior citizen’s card, the process is very simple, just apply at the Office Of The Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where a senior citizen resides. He/She will be required to accomplish an application form, submit a proof of eligibility and a recent 1″ x 1″ ID photograph.

A senior citizen can send a representative to purchase goods on his/her behalf subject to the following requirements:
a)     An authorization letter signed by the senior citizen whom he/she represents;
b)    OSCA ID and OSCA-issued purchase booklet of the senior citizen; and
c)     A valid government-issued ID card of the representative

Republic Act No. 9994/
DISCLAIMER: The author is not lawyer nor an authority on this topic. It is a product of humble research and study of law. The information provided is not a legal advice and it should not be used  as a substitute for a competent legal advice from a licensed lawyer.

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