February 29, 2024 People's Journal 55 views

SPEAKER Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez yesterday bared that senior citizens and persons with disabilities will be able to enjoy the increase to P500 per month in discounts on groceries and other prime commodities before the end of March.

Officials of the Department of Trade and Industry, led by Usec. Carolina Sanchez, met with Speaker Romualdez Tuesday night and informed him that they are amenable to his request for additional discounts for the elderly and PWDs and that this would be implemented by next month.

Romualdez earlier sought a hike in the 5 percent discount seniors and PWDs enjoy each week on groceries, currently capped at a total purchase value of P1,500, which translates to a weekly discount of P65, saying this is no longer appropriate given the increasing cost of living.

“I am delighted to welcome the imminent implementation of increased discounts for our senior citizens and PWDs,” said Romualdez, leader of the 300-plus strong House of Representatives.

Romualdez noted that senior citizens will enjoy a back-to-back bonanza as President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. just signed into law on Monday Republic Act (RA) 11982, or the Expanded Centenarian Act granting a P10,000 cash gift to an elderly citizen upon reaching the age of 80 and every five years after until the age of 95.

“This initiative to provide additional discounts for senior citizens and PWDs demonstrates the commitment of President Marcos to promoting inclusivity and social justice,” he added.

He stressed that the House leadership is working closely with President Marcos to achieve his vision to build a more compassionate and equitable society.

“We’re working so that the usual P65 per week discount for senior citizens and PWDs may be increased to P125,” Sanchez said.

This would mean an increase to P500 per month from the current P260 monthly discounts on groceries and premium items enjoyed by the elderly and PWDS.

She added that while the process of consultation with stakeholders is still ongoing, the necessary inter-agency circular to implement the additional discount would likely be issued and take effect within March.

“It’s a joint issuance between the DA (Department of Agriculture), DTI and the DOE (Department of Energy),” Sanchez explained.

She noted however, that the discounts cover only basic goods and prime commodities, or typical items consumed daily, such as rice, corn, bread, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cooking oil, sugar, vegetables, fruits, onions, garlic, as well as fresh and processed milk, except medical grade milk.

Also covered are manufactured goods, such as processed meat, sardines, and even corned beef, although the premium brands are not.

Senior citizens and PWDs also stand to enjoy additional discounts on basic construction supplies, like cement, hollow blocks, and electrical supplies, including light bulbs.

Premium items, including non-essential food such as cakes and pastries, exempted from the additional discount, according to Sanchez.

She said that following the issuance of the implementing inter-agency circular, DTI will publish a comprehensive list of the items covered by the additional discount for seniors and PWDs to guide the public and the affected merchants.

“I commend the efforts of the DTI and other concerned agencies for their diligence and commitment to advancing this crucial initiative. Their dedication to ensuring the timely implementation of these increased discounts is truly commendable and reflects our shared vision of a more inclusive and caring nation,” Speaker Romualdez said.