Category: Senior Citizen News and Facts

08 - 29

My mom is a senior citizen enjoying all perks and privileges offered by our government to citizens her age.  She gets to beat long lines at grocery stores and rest rooms, watches movies for free at the mall at least once a week, and gets discounts when dining out.

As her designated carer, my major concern is her health.  Because of her age and deteriorating immune system, she now easily catches minor illnesses like cough and colds.  Lately, she has been complaining of a nagging pain in her right eye; sometimes, it would radiate to her right temple and then progress to a full-blown headache.  In times like these, we are thankful that our senior citizen mom is covered by Philhealth.  We are assured of assistance if only with her hospital bills.

If you are caring for a senior parent or grandparent, it is important that you are well-versed with the Philhealth’s medical assistance coverage for the elderly.  I have summarized the following information about senior citizens’ automatic membership with the Philhealth; this has helped me and my siblings understand and appreciate Philhealth’s efforts at providing much-needed assistance in our parents’ medical needs.

Read and share!

In what membership category will Philhealth enroll senior citizens with no coverage?

The Senior Citizen category shall be for a senior citizen who is:

  1. Not yet issued with a Philhealth Identification Number or PIN;
  2. A member in the formal or informal economy but has not qualifying contributions to be entitled to the Program benefits;
  3. Not an identified indigent under the National Household Targeting Systems for Poverty Reduction (NHTS-PR) or listahan of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD);
  4. Not currently a Sponsored Member;
  5. Not yet qualified as a Lifetime Member; and
  6. A qualified dependent of an NHIP member who has been declared in Philhealth’s membership database.

Can a Senior Citizen member declare dependents?

Yes, just like any other Philhealth Member.

What if the dependent of a Senior Citizen is a senior citizen as well?

Dependents of Senior Citizen members who are senior citizens themselves, e.g. legal spouses, can be enrolled as “Senior Citizen” members too.

What about senior citizens who are gainfully employed?  Will they continue to remit contributions?

Yes, senior citizens who are gainfully employed or remains to have a regular source of income shall continue to contribute to the NHIP.

Is the Senior Citizen category the same with the Lifetime Member Category?

No.  The LMP members need not pay contributions to be eligible to the benefits.  The Senior Citizen members have premium contributions which are paid from the proceeds of the Sin Tax Law.

What are the benefit entitlements of Senior Citizens?

Senior Citizen members will be entitled to benefits for inpatient hospital care, day/ambulatory services, Z-benefits and other special benefit packages.

Starting January 2015, Senior Citizen members along with the Lifetime Members and those registered as Kasambahays aged 60 years old and above shall also be entitled to the Primary Care Benefit Package: Tamang Servisyo sa Kalusugan ng Pamilya (Tsekap).

Will Senior Citizen Members be entitled to the No Balance Billing Policy of Philhealth?

Yes, along with Lifetime Members and those registered as Kasambahays aged 60 years old and above.

How will Senior Citizens avail of the benefits?

Senior Citizens only need to present their senior citizen card, MDR or any accepted proof of identity and age; provided the hospital has an HCI Portal installed.

A PBEF that says “YES” – the patient is entitled to the benefits shall serve as a basis for automatic deduction.

In case the hospital has no portal installed, the PBEF says ‘NO’, or the senior citizen was not able to enroll before discharge, then the following may be attached to the usual claims documents:

  1. duly accomplished Philhealth Member Registration Form (PMRF); and
  2. an acceptable proof of status as senior citizen including but not limited to the Senior Citizen’s Identification Card and Birth Certificate.


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04 - 10

As a Senior Citizen, you can either buy your medicines personally or have someone else run the errand for you.  To be sure you are given your rightful discounts and privileges when purchasing your medicines, take note of the following reminders and requirements:

To avail of the 20% discount on medicines:

  1. Present your Senior Citizen’s ID and Purchase Slip Booklet duly approved by the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs (OSCA) Chairman.
  2. Present the Doctor’s prescription, making sure the following are clearly written:
    • Patient’s name, age, address, and date of prescription.
    • Generic name of the prescribed medicine.
    • Name and address of the doctor.
    • Doctor’s PTR number and S2 license (the latter is vital especially when prescribed medicines fall under the “prohibited and regulated drug” category).
  3. If the Senior Citizen patient could not afford the consultation fees of a private doctor, he may visit the nearest health center or government hospital in his area and secure a prescription free of charge.
  4. Any single dispensing should not be more than one week’s supply of medicines except of the following chronic conditions that require continuous use of medicines for a month:
    • Hypertension
    • Diabetes
    • Parkinson’s disease
    • Arthritis
    • TB
    • Cancer
    • Psychosis
    • Other illnesses that require extensive medication

The following should be recorded in a special record Book of Senior Citizens Discount provided under RA 7432:

  1. Name of Senior Citizen
  2. Address
  3. SC ID number
  4. Generic name of the drug/medicine
  5. Number of units dispensed

Take note that some pharmacies may require additional proof of identification in cases when only a representative is sent to purchase the medicines.  While they acknowledge the fact that some Senior Citizens may not be physically able to visit a pharmacy, they also need to ensure that these medicines are dispensed for the Senior Citizen’s consumption only.

If you are sending someone else to buy your medicines for you, make sure he has all the required documents and is also ready with his own identification cards.


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03 - 17

Since Filipino Senior Citizens are automatically granted VAT exemptions and certain discounts on their purchases, does it also follow that they should be exempted from paying income taxes as well?

We cannot deny the fact that a lot of Filipinos in their senior years are still gainfully employed and have become immensely successful at their chosen careers. And while they are entitled to the full benefits and privileges mandated by law for senior citizens, many are wondering if they should still be paying their income taxes and other government contributions like their SSS, Philhealth, and Pagibig.

The official website of the Philippine Gazette ( provides a straightforward outline of who should be paying income taxes to the government.  Below is a quick summary:

You should file your income tax return if:

  1. You are a Filipino citizen living in the Philippines, receiving income from sources within or outside the Philippines, and if –
    • You are employed by two or more employers, any time during the taxable year.
    • You are self-employed, either through conduct of trade or professional practice.
    • You are deriving mixed income.  This means you have been an employee and a self-employed individual during the taxable year.
    • You derive other non-business, non-professional related income in addition to compensation income not otherwise subject to a final tax.
    • You are married, employed by a single employer, and your income has been correctly withheld – the tax due is equal to the tax withheld – but your spouse is not entitled to substituted filing.
    • You are a marginal income earner.
    • Your income tax during the past calendar year was not withheld correctly – if the tax due is not equal to the tax withheld.
  2. You are a non-resident citizen – if you are a Filipino who works or resides abroad – receiving income from sourced within the Philippines.  (You are taxable only for the income you earn from the Philippines.)
  3. You are not a Filipino citizen but you receive income from sources within the Philippines, regardless of your residency.  (You are taxable only for the income you earn from the Philippines).

You are not required to file an income tax return, if:

  • You are a minimum wage earner.
  • Your gross income (total earned for the past year) does not exceed your total personal and additional exemptions.
  • Your income derived from a single employer does not exceed P60,000 and the income tax on which has been correctly withheld.
  • Your income has been subjected to final withholding tax.
  • You are qualified for substituted filing.

Clearly, employed Senior Citizens are not included in the income tax payment exemption unless they are minimum wage earners.

In the same manner, employed senior citizens whose SSS, Philhealth, and PagIBIG contributions are still shared with their employers must still continue paying their contributions out of their salary.  These payments shall continue to form part of their retirement and pension benefits the moment they officially retire from employment.


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03 - 16

Magandang balita!  Kung ikaw ay edad 60 years old pataas at isang Filipino citizen, ikaw ay automatic na miyembro na ng Philippine Health Insurance Corporation o Philhealth!  Maaari mo nang magamit at ma-enjoy ang iyong mga Philhealth benefits gamit lamang ang iyong Senior Citizen ID, PSA birth certificate, o ano mang ID na magpapatunay na ikaw ay edad 60 years old pataas.

Narito ang mga karagdagang impormasyon kung papano makakakuha ng Philhealth ID ang mga Senior Citizen.  Madaling lang!

May dalawang paraan ng pag enroll para makakuha ng Philhealth ID:

  1. Bulk Enrollment.
    • May listahan ng pangalan ng mga senior citizen sa isang siyudad o munisipalidad ang mga local health insurance offices ng Philhealth.  Siguraduhing nakapagpa lista kayo upang maisama kayo sa bulk enrollment.
    • Ang lahat ng qualified senior citizens (edad lang ang qualification) ay isasama sa bulk enrollment.
    • Ang inyong Philhealth IDs ay idedeliver sa Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA).
  2. Individual Enrollment
    • Requirements:
      • Duly accomplished Philhealth Member Registraton Form.
      • 1 x 1 photo taken within the last six months.
      • Senior Citizens’ ID na mula sa OSCA ng siyudad o munisipalidad kung saan nakatira ang senior citizen OR
      • Kahit na anong valid government-issued ID tulad ng Passport, Driver’s License, SSS o GSIS ID, PRC ID, Postal ID, Voter’s ID.

Kung wala pang Senior Citizen ID, mag apply na sa OSCA kung saan kayo nakatira.  Narito ang mga requirements kapag maga-apply ng Senior Citizen ID:

  1. Ihanda ang mga sumusunod na requirements:
    • PSA Birth Certificate
    • 2 pcs 1 x1 colored photo
    • Valid ID (kahit alin sa mga sumusunod: SSS, GSIS, PRC, Voter’s ID, Postal ID, Passport).
  2. Pumunta sa OSCA ng city o municipality kung saan nakatira ang Senior Citizen at i-submit ang mga requirements.
  3. Ang staff ng OSCA ang siyang maglalagay ng mga detalye sa inyong Senior Citizen ID base sa mga impormasyon sa inyong birth certificate at mga ID.
  4. Bago pirmahan ang ID card, basahing mabuti at i-confirm kung tama lahat ng impormasyong isinulat sa inyong ID, tapos ay pirmahan.

Ang ibang cities at municipalities ay nagbibigay ng one-hour orientation bago ibigay ang ID sa mga members.  Mag attend kayo nito sakaling i-require.

Kumuha na ng inyong Senior Citizen at Philhealth IDs sa pinakamalapit na OSCA sa inyong lugar!

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03 - 15

In one of our long drives to the North last December, we met a large group of travelers having a noisy lunch in a bus stopover in Pangasinan.  They were the picture of a typical Pinoy family taking a balikbayan relative and her senior expat husband on a tour to the provinces.  The mood in their area was joyful until the waitress handed their bill and the senior citizens started whipping out their SC cards; everyone, including the senior expat.

When the waitress returned with their receipt and change, she informed the group that their restaurant only honors SC IDs from Filipino citizens.  After making this announcement, she handed the senior expat’s senior citizen ID while the rest of the group sat in stunned silence.

On their way out, I heard the expat ask his Filipina wife, in straight Tagalog: “Bakit hindi nila tinanggap itong ID ko? Dual citizen ako ah!  Amerikano at Filipino!”

This got me reeling in my seat!  If the guy was Fil-Am by citizenship, then he should have been granted the SC discount!

Should alien seniors enjoy the same SC benefits granted to Pinoy seniors?

I checked on this topic and was able to confirm that alien seniors do not have senior citizen privileges in the Philippines.  Back in 2014, a couple of congressmen submitted a proposal for elderly foreigners to be granted the same benefits offered to Filipino senior citizens.  According to the lawmakers, elderly foreigners also have relevant and considerable contributions in our local economy since they bring in investments, patronize local businesses, and some take up permanent residence in the country.

The report on this proposal is yet to be updated.

Are senior citizen privileges extended to Pinoy balikbayans and residents with dual citizenship?

Yes.  The Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act of 2003 (RA No. 9257) describes “Senior Citizen or Elderly” as any Filipino citizen who is a resident of the Philippines, and who is sixty (60) years old or above.

Clearly, the discount privileges and priority in most commercial establishments are reserved to Filipino seniors.  And if we were to plainly look at the expat in that busy restaurant, with his sunburned shoulders, blue eyes, and hawk nose, he would certainly not pass for a Filipino.  And on the basis of physical appearances, he is obviously not qualified for senior citizen discounts in the country.

But what if what he was saying was true? That he has dual citizenship and has a valid Philippine Senior Citizen ID?  Was it right for that restaurant to deny him his rightful discounts?

The complete description of Senior Citizen or Elderly as stated in RA 9257 also includes the following:

It may apply to senior citizens with “dual citizenship” status provided they prove their Filipino citizenship and have at least six (6) months residency in the Philippines.” (Rule III, Article 5).

Based on this provision in RA 9257, the elderly senior at that restaurant, assuming he really has dual citizenship, should have been granted senior citizen discounts at that restaurant.

What if the elderly resident (with dual citizenship) does not have a Senior Citizen ID yet?

Still according to RA 9257, not having a Senior Citizen ID is no reason to be denied your rightful privileges.  The following IDs may be presented and the establishment should honor these IDs:

  1. An ID issued by the city or municipal mayor or of the barangay captain of the place where the senior citizen or the elderly resides;
  2. The passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned; and
  3. Other documents that establish that the senior citizen or elderly person is a citizen of the Republic and is at least sixty (60) years of age.” (Section 4, R.A. No. 9257).
  4. Senior Citizens’ Identification Card issued by the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where the elderly resides;
  5. The Philippine passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned; and
  6. Other valid documents that establish the senior citizen or elderly person as a citizen of the Republic and at least sixty (60) years of age,  which shall include but not be limited to the following government-issued identification documents indicating an elderly’s birth date or age:
    • Driver’s license
    • Voter’s ID
    • Professional Regulations Commission Card
    • Postal ID (Rule III, Article 5.5, Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 9257)

Therefore, if a senior citizen seeks to be granted senior citizen privileges and is able to present any of the above-mentioned proofs, the establishment is duty-bound to grant them the discounts and privileges, regardless if the elderly does not look like he is of Filipino descent.

It is likewise important to educate operators and staff of establishments frequented by senior citizens such as pharmacies, restaurants, hotels, cinemas, and amusement centers.  Most people would easily believe that foreigners are not entitled to the same benefits that Filipinos enjoy in the country, but based on the provisions in RA 9257, this theory may not always be true.


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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.


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A primary requirement when applying for a passport (or renewing an old one) is the applicant’s birth certificate in Security Paper (SECPA) issued by the Philippine Statistics Authority (formerly NSO) or a Certified True Copy issued by the Local Civil Registrar.  This has become an issue among senior citizens, especially those born on 1945 and earlier years.  Most, if not all, could not secure copies of their birth certificates as these were believed to have been destroyed during and after World War 2.

So how does a Senior Citizen acquire a passport if he could not produce a copy of his birth certificate?  The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) published a special set of requirements specifically for senior citizens born on or after 1950 and those born before 1950.  Read on!

A. First Time Passport Application and born in or after January 1, 1950

  • Personal appearance of senior citizen applicant.
  • Duly accomplished application form – may be downloaded from the DFA website.
  • Valid picture IDs and supporting documents to prove identity.
  • For birth record documents (in place of the PSA Birth Certificate):
    • Apply for the delayed registration of birth at the local civil registry office located at the place of birth of applicant.
    • Submit authenticated Birth Certificate from PSA and supporting public documents with correct date and place of birth (i.e. Form 137, Voter’s Registration Record, Baptismal Certificate with readable dry seal or National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) with photo and readable dry seal for Muslim applicants).

B. First Time Passport Application and born before 1950 (December 31, 1949 and earlier):

  • Personal appearance of senior citizen applicant.
  • Duly accomplished application form – may be downloaded from the DFA website.
  • Valid picture IDs and supporting documents to prove identity.
  • For birth record documents (in place of the PSA Birth Certificate):
    • Certificate of Non-availability of Record from the PSA.
    • Notarized Joint Birth Affidavit of Two Disinterested Persons.
    • Any public document/s with correct full name, date and place of birth (i.e. Baptismal Certificate with readable dry seal or NCMF Certificate with photo and readable dry seal for Muslim applicants).

Senior Citizen passport applicants do not need to secure an appointment online.  They will be accommodated anytime at any DFA branch office.

Share this to families and friends!


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Closet Queen



My Mom misplaced her Senior Citizen ID a few months ago.  She has yet to make that trip to the Quezon City hall to secure a new one and until then, she would shrug her shoulders every time she foregoes an opportunity to get a discount on her purchase.

Last month, she lined up at a bus terminal to buy a ticket for a one-way trip to La Union.  I heard her mention to the cashier that she is a Senior Citizen and that she doesn’t have her ID in her possession and for the cashier to please give her the discounted ticket price.  The cashier looked quizzically at her and said that without my Mom’s SC ID, she cannot grant her the discount.  My Mom dyes her hair a subtle shade of mahogany brown and would never leave the house without make up on.  She is 71 years old but people would always mistake her for someone who is in her mid-50s.  My Mom probably caught the cashier’s doubtful look because she immediately pulled her passport out of her bag and showed it to the ticket lady. However, without even uttering a word (or taking a glance at my Mom’s passport), the cashier punched the numbers on the ticket and handed it to my Mom.  I did not need to look at the ticket; I knew right away that she did not grant my Mom her discount.

Is the Senior Citizen ID the only required document before a Senior Citizen is granted his government-mandated discounts?

The Expanded Senior Citizen Act of 2010 (RA 9994) states that senior citizens may avail of benefits and privileges under the Act upon presenting a valid and original Senior Citizen’s ID as proof of his or her eligibility.

But does it end there?

My mom volunteered to present her passport, a document bearing her photograph, her address, and her birth date.  That should have been enough to prove that she is a senior citizen and she should be granted senior citizen discounts.

A careful review of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA 9994, particularly Article 5.5, will lead you to realize that there are indeed ALTERNATIVE IDs that senior citizens may present, in the absence of their SC IDs, if only to prove that they are qualified to avail of SC benefits and privileges.

Article 5.5 defines these alternative IDs as any document or proof of being a senior citizen which may be used to avail of benefits and privileges under the Act and its Rules.  It shall be any of the following:

  1. Senior Citizens’ ID card issued by the OSCA in the municipality where the elderly resides;
  2. The Philippine passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned; and
  3. Government-issued ID which reflects on its face the name, picture, date of birth and nationality of the senior citizen which includes any of the following:
    • Digitized Social Security System ID
    • Government Service Insurance System ID
    • Professional Regulation Commission ID
    • Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID
    • Unified Multi-purpose ID (UMID)
    • Driver’s License

Had I known these facts that day we were lined up at the ticket booth, I would have stepped up and demanded that my Mom be given her rightful privilege as a Filipino Senior Citizen.

Nonetheless, we took time off from work one Thursday morning and accompanied our 71-year-old mother to the Office of Senior Citizen Affairs at the QC Hall.  She was issued a shiny new ID that she now proudly flashes whenever she is asked, “Senior na po kayo?”


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Taking our parents out during the weekends and holidays is always a good idea.  If your parents are in their senior years, you get a bonus in the form of discounts when paying for products and services they availed.  All they need to do is flash their Senior Citizen IDs and a fraction of their bill will be waived, plus you get to snag the best parking spots during busy hours at the malls!

When dining out as a group with one or two senior citizens in tow, most restaurants take longer than usual to compute the final bill.  Once we ordered a whole cake as we were celebrating my Lola’s birthday, we were surprised when the cashier asked how many people were going to partake of the cake as that will be their basis in applying my Lola’s Senior Citizen discount (mind you, my Lola paid for the cake with her “birthday money” – she insisted.).

To help us understand how dining establishments treat the Senior Citizen discounts, we are sharing the provisions of RA 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizen’s Act of 2010, particularly the section that deals with dining out, ordering food for takeout and delivery, and dining out as a group.  Share this with friends and families who have senior citizen relatives!


Q: If a group of 5 comprised of four non-senior citizens and one senior citizen dines in a restaurant, how should the group be billed?

A: The bill should be computed as follows:

Senior Citizen Discount = (Total Billing Amount / Number of Customers) less 12% VAT x 20%

Let us say the total bill is Php 1,000.  Using the formula above, the Senior Citizen’s discount should be:

(Php 1,000 / 6 customers) = Php 166.67 per customer

Php 166.67 – 12% = Php 146.67 (VAT Ex for Senior Citizen)

Php 146.67 x 20% = Php 117.33 (discounted bill for the Senior Citizen only)

To get the total discounted bill for the group:

Php 166.67 per customer x 5 non-senior citizen customers = Php 833.35

Php 833.35 + Php 117.33 (discounted bill for the Senior Citizen only) = Php 950.68

The above formula is applicable if “no individualized food item can be ordered or if the transaction with the Senior Citizen is not processed separately.  Note as well that before the 20% Senior Citizen discount was applied, the billable amount for the Senior Citizen was made VAT exclusive.

Q: For restaurants, are condiments and side products covered by the Senior Citizen discount and VAT exemption?

Yes.  For restaurants, the discount shall be for the sale of food, drinks, desserts, and other consumable items served by the establishments, including value meals and promotional meals, offered for the consumption of the general public.

Q: Is there a maximum amount or cap on the discount that may be granted to Senior Citizens?  For example, may a restaurant limit the grant of discount to Senior Citizens to P40 even if the computed 20% discount is higher than P40?

No.  In no case shall the discount granted to Senior Citizens in the example be less than 20%.  There should be no fixed, maximum amount or cap which will limit the discount below the rate of 20%.  The 20% discount shall be given to goods purchased by Senior Citizen based on the selling price exclusive of VAT.

Q: For set meals, what are the rules?

The 20% discount and VAT exemption shall also apply to set meals purchased by Senior Citizens, provided that the meal shall be limited to a single-serving meal with beverage for an individual senior citizen.  In case the set meal is not limited to a single serving and is shared with non-senior citizens, the value of the food purchase attributable to the Senior Citizen may be computed in accordance with the formula stated in the First Question.

Q: What is the rule for purchase of group meals by “group walk-ins” or group composed of all Senior Citizens?

If the group of diners is composed of Senior Citizens who ordered for group meals or food items for sharing in restaurants, each Senior Citizen with a valid Senior Citizen’s ID card shall be entitled to a 20% discount and VAT exemption, hence, if all the Senior Citizens in the Group have valid Senior Citizens’s ID cards, the entire food purchase shall be entitled to the 20% discount and VAT exemption.

Q: What are considered “bulk orders”?

Bulk orders are within the context of pre-contracted or pre-arranged group meals or packages, and hence, not entitled to 20% discount and VAT exemption.

Q: Is the purchase of a whole cake subject to 20% discount?

A purchase of a whole cake may be considered as a purchase of a “group meal or meal for sharing.”  For instance, if the whole cake purchased is good for five (5) persons, and the group of diners is composed of five Senior Citizens, each with a valid Senior Citizen’s ID card, then they shall be entitled to the 20% discount.  If the group of diners is composed of Senior Citizens, but not all have their valid Senior Citizen’s ID card, or composed of Senior Citizens and Non-senior citizens, the value of the cake attributable to the qualified Senior Citizens shall be computed in accordance with the formula above.

If a Senior Citizen purchases a slice of cake or a personal serving of cake, he shall be entitled to the 20% discount.


Next time you take your Lolo and Lola out for lunch or dinner, go over the bill and try to compute on your own if the establishment applied the discounts corresponding to the type of purchase made (group orders, individual orders, etc.) and if the Senior Citizen discounts were applied correctly.

Also, don’t be surprised if the cashier starts counting how many people in your group are senior and non-senior citizens.  The law on SC discounts mandates them to do just that, don’t get offended or feel like you are being shortchanged.

Tomorrow, we will feature additional policies when applying SC discounts at restaurants and similar establishments and if Senior Citizens can still avail of discounts even if they do not have their SC ID with them.  Stay tuned!




My balikbayan aunt, who owns two Senior Citizen IDs (one issued in the U.S. and another issued by the OSCA at the Quezon City Hall), had a puzzling experience at a fast food chain last week.  She saw the ad on specialty burgers being sold at half the price as a promotional offering of the decades-old burger chain and decided to buy some for takeout.  After placing her order, she presented her QC Senior Citizen ID and started counting her bills, already having computed the total amount she needs to pay: the discounted price less her Senior Citizen discount.  After the cashier rang up her purchase, she was surprised to find that the only discount applied on her purchase was the advertised 50% off of the selling price.  When she inquired how come her Senior Citizen discount was not applied, the cashier replied: “Naka promo na po yung burgers.”

My aunt reviewed her receipt one more time and realized that even the 12% VAT exemption (which all Senior Citizens are entitled to) is not applied as well.  The cashier stood her ground and insisted that since the products that my aunt bought were already on promo price, any other discounts are no longer applicable – including the VAT exemption of Senior Citizens.

Unfazed by her experience, my aunt had me scour all available documents online that will shed light on these questions that most Senior Citizens probably want to ask:

a. If a product or service is on promo, does it automatically mean that the 20% SC discount is no longer applicable?

b. In cases when the 20% SC discount is in fact, waived, because the service or product being sold is at a discounted price, should the 12% VAT exemption be waived as well?

Before we go further into this discussion, allow me to present the correct and detailed computation of for Senior Citizen’s discount.  For purposes of computation, let us assume the product’s amount is Php 100.00.

1.Determine the VAT amount:


Amount of VAT = (Selling Price x 12%) / 1.12

Amount of VAT = (Php 100 x 12%) / 1.12

Amount of VAT = (12) / 1.12

Amount of VAT = Php 10.71

2. Deduct the VAT amount from the selling price to get the Sales Net of VAT:


Sales Net of VAT = Selling Price – Amopunt of VAT

Sales Net of VAT = Php 100 – Php 10.71

Sales Net of VAT = Php 89.29

3. Determine the discount to be applied:


Amount of Discount = Sales Net of VAT x 20%

Amount of Discount = Php 89.29 x 20%

Amount of Discount = Php 17.86

4. Determine the amount to be paid by the Senior Citizen


Amount to be paid by the SC = Sales Net of VAT – Amount of Discount

Amount to be paid by the SC = Php 89.29 – Php 17.86

Amount to be paid by the SC = Php 71.43

Given the above computation, Senior Citizen discounts are composed of two major considerations: the VAT exempted amount and the amount after the Senior Citizen discount has been applied.  And that in order to arrive at the latter, one would have to have already determined how much the item should be priced AFTER the VAT has been removed.

If the purchased goods or services are on promotional discount, can the Senior Citizen still avail of the 20% discount?

According to the BIR (and based on Memorandum Circular No. 38-2012), the answer is No.

In the purchase of goods and services which are on promotional discount, the Senior Citizen shall avail of either the promotional discount or the 20% discount, whichever is higher.  However, the discount that must be given to the Senior Citizen shall in no case be less than 20%. (Section 5 of RR No. 7-2010).

If the Senior Citizen used his privilege card or purchased an item that is on promotional discount which is higher than the 20% SC discount, is the sale exempt from VAT?

Again, based on Memorandum Circular No. 38-2012, the answer is Yes.

The sale of goods and services on promotional discount is still exempt from VAT.  (Section 10 of RR No. 7-2010).

So the answer is, my aunt, being a Senior Citizen, is entitled to a VAT exempted sale regardless if the items or services she purchased were on regular price or at discounted rates.

Tomorrow, we shall feature the different policies covered by the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010.  Meantime, share this to your friends and families so everyone would be informed.  I am certainly sharing this with my aunt.


Chips And Nibblers (1)

Closet Queen



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