The Senior Citizen Discount: Are Grocery Items Included in the List?

03 - 13

A Senior Citizen ID card holder may enjoy two free movies at cinemas in Quezon City on specific days.  When dining or buying medicines, they are granted a 20% discount off of the cost of their meals and medications.  They are also given priority seats in public transportation and are granted the best slots in parking areas.

All’s well until they find themselves lined up at grocery counters.  Most first time SC card holders are surprised to find out that the 20% discount and VAT exemption applied on certain goods and services for use and enjoyment of Senior Citizens are not applicable on grocery items.

What are the discountable goods and services mentioned in the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000?

Our research on this topic led us back to the RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2000 where it is clearly emphasized that the 20% discount and VAT exemption are applicable to the charges on the following goods and services ONLY:

  1. Medicines, including the purchase of influenza and pneumococcal vaccines and such other essential medical supplies, accessories, and equipment to be determined by the Department of Health (DOH);
  2. Professional fees of attending physicians in all private hospitals, medical facilities, outpatient clinics, and home health  care services;
  3. Professional fees of licensed professional health providing home health care services as endorsed by private hospitals or employed through home health care employment agencies;
  4. 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 Philhealth;
  5. Actual fare for land transportation travel in public utility buses, public utility jeepneys, taxis, AUVs, trains;
  6. Actual transportation fare for domestic air transport services and sea shipping vessels and the like, based on the actual fare and advanced booking;
  7. Utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, and recreation centers;
  8. Admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement, and
  9. Funeral and burial services for the death of the senior citizen.

The 5% Discount on Basic Commodities

While the 20% Senior Citizen discount is not applicable on grocery items, Senior Citizens may demand for the 5% discount for certain grocery purchases that fall under the “basic necessities and prime commodities” category.

According to DTI-DA Administrative Order No. 10-02, Senior Citizens are entitled to a special discount of 5% of the regular retail price, without exemption from value-added tax, of basic necessities, such as:

  1. Rice
  2. Corn
  3. Bread (any shape and name, excluding pastries and cakes)
  4. Fresh, dried, and canned fish and other marine products
  5. Fresh pork, beef, and poultry meat
  6. Fresh eggs
  7. Fresh and processed milk
  8. Fresh vegetables including root crops
  9. Coffee and creamer
  10. Sugar
  11. Cooking oil
  12. Salt
  13. Powdered, liquid, bar laundry and detergent soap
  14. Firewood
  15. Charcoal
  16. Candles
  17. Fresh fruits
  18. Flour
  19. Dried, processed, and canned pork, beef and poultry meat
  20. Dairy products
  21. Noodles
  22. Onions
  23. Garlic
  24. Geriatric diapers
  25. Herbicides
  26. Poultry, swine, and cattle feeds
  27. Veterinary products of poultry, swine, and cattle
  28. Nipa shingle, plyboard, and construction nails
  29. Batteries
  30. Electrical supplies and light bulbs
  31. Steel wire

Can Senior Citizens avail of the 5% special discount on these items anytime?

This is where it gets a bit tricky.

When availing of the 5% special discount, the total amount of the purchase must not exceed Php 1,300 per calendar week.  The unused amount for the current week shall not be carried over to the following week.  Be reminded as well that the items must be commensurate to the personal and exclusive consumption of the senior citizen within the calendar week and that the amount allocated shall be spent on at least four (4) kinds of items only.

This is also the reason why most cities and municipalities require Senior Citizens to present, not just their IDs, but their Senior Citizen booklets as well.  This is their way of monitoring the purchases made by the Senior Citizen and if he may still avail of the 5% special discount for a particular week.


Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen


Published by MasterCitizen

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23 thoughts on “The Senior Citizen Discount: Are Grocery Items Included in the List?

  1. Seniors are prone to bad odor especially through their clothes, body odor, so i think body deodorant, fabric softener are also included on 5% discount. The implementing rules and guidelines are not totally helping seniors.

  2. Why shampoo or conditioner is not included in senior citizen 5% discount? As if we are deprived to use shampoo for our hair because we take a bath too? It’s unhealthy maybe if we use bar or powdered detergent on our hair, because these items are only included, and bath soap is not included too.

  3. Savemore refused to give me 5% discount because I already used ₱65 discount for the week including that of other grocery stores. I thought seniors are allowed ₱1300 discount per week

    1. Hi Evie! Please clarify with the OFfice of Senior Citizens Affairs. I don’t think our government will give that much as discount (P1,300) for grocery items.

  4. Ang ibig sabihin ba ng “at least 4 kinds of items”, hindi ka pwede maka avail ng 5% discount kung isang kind lang ang binili ng OSCA? example: pag bumili ka lang ng rice lang?

  5. It says in the law that the 20% discount and VAT exemption are applicable to buying medicines without mention of a weekly allocation unlike buying groceries. Then, why is it that big drugstores like Mercury Drug still require purchase booklets when there’s no need to monitor the weekly consumption? Isn’t this a violation of the law on the part of Mercury Drug and other similar drugstores?

  6. I was just wondering why bath soap, hair shampoo and conditioner, body lotion ( skin of old people has the tendency to be dry) are not included in the discount. These are necessities di po ba?

  7. When you chose to avail the higher promotional discount ( instead of the 20% discount), can you still enjoy the VAT exemption. In other words, will a senior citizen lose his Vat exemption when he chooses the higher promotional discount over the 20% discount. Thank you.

    1. Hi Miguel,

      The VAT exemption remains across all types of purchases made by Senior Citizens. If you choose to buy an item with a higher promotional discount, check your receipt to make sure that you were also given the 5% VAT exemption. If not, you may demand for it or file a complaint.


  8. Totoo ho ba na pag may kaunting sss pension ay d na qualified sa monthly senior pension na required by the law e wala naman po trabajo at nag hb maintenance pa?

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