It is an integral part of the cultural values of the Filipinos to take care, honor and protect their elders. In general, grandparents and sometimes great grandparents constitute part of the Filipino nuclear families.
It is unusual for Filipino families to send their elderly to the home for the aged. This value is also shared by the government who had already passed several laws such as Republic Act No. 7432, amended by RA No.9257 (“Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003”) , and further amended by RA 9994, known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act, all intended to provide elderly Filipinos with senior citizen discount and other perks to help ease their finances in their golden years.
The laws define a senior citizen or elderly as any resident citizen of the Philippines at least 60 years old. They provide that elderly Filipinos aged 60 and above are entitled to a 20% senior citizen discount and exempted from the value-added tax (VAT) on applicable goods and services for their exclusive use. These privileges apply to both cash and credit card payments.
The following goods and services as enumerated in the laws are provided upon presentation of a senior citizens card or any valid government ID that will show the age of the claimant:
Medicines: Generic and branded medicines, vitamins, and mineral supplements (with doctor’s prescription)
Medical supplies and equipment: Hearing aids, eyeglasses, wheelchairs, crutches, dentures, etc.
Medical and dental services in private facilities: Lab tests such as blood tests, x-rays, etc.
Professional fees of attending physicians and licensed health workers
Domestic air and sea travel fares
Public land transportation fares: Jeepneys, buses, taxis, shuttle services, MRT, LRT, PNR, etc.
Hotels: Accommodation and amenities in hotels, beach resorts, mountain resorts, etc.
Restaurants: Food, beverages, dessert, and other consumables for dine-in, take-out, drive-thru, and delivery orders
Recreation centers: Rental and other fees for sports facilities such as gyms, badminton courts, tennis courts, ballroom dancing studios, bowling lanes, etc.
Places of leisure: Cinemas, museums, parks, theaters, concert halls, etc. In some cities and municipalities like Makati and Muntinlupa, senior citizens are able to watch movies free of charge.
Funeral and burial services for deceased senior citizens: hospital morgue, embalming, casket or urn, cremation, etc.
Free parking per municipal or city ordinances
Other mandatory benefits include the following:
Income tax exemption for minimum wage earners
Training fee exemption on socio-economic programs
Free medical and dental services in government facilities
Free flu and pneumococcal vaccinations for indigent senior citizens
Scholarships and financial assistance for seniors’ education in public and private schools
Retirement benefits from SSS.GSIS, and Pag-IBIG
Discounts in special programs for senior citizens
Express or priority lanes for senior citizens in all government offices and commercial establishments
In many malls and some gasoline stations, separate spacious toilets with their own sink for the elderly are provided with appropriate handrails installed near the toilet bowls to ensure the convenience and safety of the elderly users.
Indeed with all these perks, benefits, and privileges, the golden years of a Filipino citizen in the Philippines have a silver lining for a life well-lived and appreciated.