House Panels Greenlight Enhanced Benefits for Seniors and PWDs

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In a significant move, three House committees have given the green light to three bills aimed at bolstering discounts, incentives, and tax exemptions for senior citizens (SC) and persons with disabilities (PWDs). Led by Rep. Joey Salceda, chair of the House committee on ways and means, these bills propose comprehensive guidelines for local government units and businesses to streamline the administration of benefits for SCs and PWDs.

Among the key provisions, businesses would be required to train staff in granting these benefits and prominently display information on entitlements within their establishments. Additionally, simplified registration processes and an innovative “e-Gov PH Super App” are slated to facilitate identification and access to government services for seniors and PWDs.

Data reveals a significant demographic of 2.3 million seniors and 670,000 registered PWDs in the Philippines, underscoring the importance of these measures. The bills emerged from a January inquiry by three House committees, prompted by concerns over implementation gaps in existing legislation, notably highlighted by Starbucks’ controversial discount policy.

Notably, the proposed monthly grocery discount of P500 is poised to alleviate financial burdens amidst rising inflation, according to the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC). NCSC Chair Franklin Quijano emphasized the meaningful impact of this increase, urging vigilance from seniors and PWDs to ensure compliance from establishments. Speaker Martin Romualdez has advocated for further increases in grocery discounts, reflecting a broader commitment to improving benefits for these vulnerable groups.