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DTI to enforce seniors, PWD discount online

The Department of Trade and Industry has warned establishments to honor the 20 percent discount on medicines and 5 percent special discount on basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) for senior citizens and persons with disabilities when they purchase through online, telephone, or mobile transactions.

“We want to make sure our seniors and PWDs are able to avail. If they have concerns over establishments who do not observe these benefits, they can alert us so we can act on it,” DTI Undersecretary Ruth Castelo said.

Castelo said if an establishment becomes the subject of a third complaint, a case shall automatically be filed before the Office of the Prosecutor without the need of mediation, and without prejudice to the right of the local government unit to revoke its license or permit.

Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 01, entitled “Guidelines on the Provision of the Mandatory Statutory Benefits and Privileges of the Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities on their Purchases through Online (e-commerce) and Phone Call/SMS,” was released on May 6.

It was signed by the Department of Health, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Bureau of Internal Revenue, the National Commission of Senior Citizens, and the National Council on Disability Affairs.

For BNPCs, the total amount of offline and online purchases of senior citizens and PWDs per calendar week shall not exceed P1,300. The purchase of medicines, however, shall not be limited by the P1,300 ceiling.

Upon the delivery of the medicine and BNPCs, seniors and PWDs must present their ID and purchase booklets. They may be charged with the full amount of their purchased goods if they fail to produce their ID and purchase booklets.

“If establishments do not honor—whether it’s 5 percent or 20 percent—they can always call any of the implementing agencies in this JMC for the appropriate actions against the business establishment. I think it will be easiest for them to call DTI at 1384—that’s our consumer hotline or send an email at cosumercare@dti.gov.ph,” Castelo said.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva said a bill increasing the monthly social pension of poor senior citizens from P500 to P1,000 has already lapsed into law.

Villanueva, sponsor of the bill in the 18th Congress, showed a copy of a letter signed by Executive Secretary Victor Rodriguez, informing him that the bill lapsed into law July 30.

The law also transfers the implementation, distribution, and management of the social pension for senior citizens from the DSWD to the National Commission of Senior Citizens within a period not exceeding three years.

The Senate passed the bill on third and final reading in May. The House then adopted the Senate version of the bill.

Villanueva said the new law would benefit about 4 million poor senior citizens.

 

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