JMC on Mandatory Elderly / Disabled Online Prepared Discounts – Manila Newsletter

Online purchases and phone call / SMS orders of seniors (SC) and people with disabilities (PWD) must benefit from the mandatory discounts provided by law, according to two Joint Circulars (JMC) prepared by government agencies led by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

The last proposed JMC was dated September 20, 2021 and provided guidelines on the mandatory and statutory benefits and privileges for seniors and people with disabilities was drafted by the DTI. At the same time, a technical working group led by the Department of Social Protection and Development (DSWD) also prepared another JMC draft, which provides more detailed guidance.

As part of the TWG JMC, it specifically stipulated the granting of mandatory benefits to the elderly and disabled on their purchases through e-commerce, phone calls and short message services (SMS) or text messages. .

Consumer advocate Victorio Mario Dimagiba, president of Laban Konsyumer Inc., said he was in favor of TWG’s JMC project because it was the subject of a public comment. It also spells out the details, limiting implementation issues.

However, DTI JMC’s latest project lacks teeth. “The DTI project is motherhood. It also provides a trigger for traders’ discretion, ”Dimagiba said.

Dimagiba said that the DTI JMC version contains general provisions that will most likely trigger traders’ discretion, unlike DSWD TWG’s draft where the details of the guidelines are spelled out. For example, he pointed out that the DTI version provides for “voluntary compliance by traders”.

DSWD TWG’s draft clarified the privileges (discount rates) and goods and services to which the elderly and disabled are entitled under the law and which must also be granted on their purchases made through e-commerce platforms or phone calls / SMS.

For example, the TWG draft specifies that the elderly and the disabled are entitled by law to a 20% discount (excluding VAT) on purchases of drugs and medical supplies, professional fees of doctors attending in all hospitals, transport costs (land, sea, air), entrance fees to theaters, cinemas, concerts, leisure and entertainment facilities; food, drinks, desserts and other consumer goods; and funeral / burial services.

Elderly and disabled people are also entitled to a special discount rate of 5% on basic necessities and premium products. These elements were also identified in the JMC draft of the TWG.

To benefit from these reductions, seniors and people with disabilities must provide all the necessary identification and documents. Those who can not provide the documents ordered delivered items, the senior or PWD is required to pay the full amount of the goods / orders or service.

Article 9 of the JMC also provides that any covered person or business who refuses to grant the discount on the online / phone / mobile purchase of the eligible elderly and disabled will be subject to penalties in accordance with RA No. 9994. and 7277, as amended, including their rules and regulations.

The JMC also states that “it is illegal for people to falsely present themselves as elderly or disabled”.

DSWD TWG JMC must be signed between government agencies – DTI, DSWD, National Commission for the Elderly (NCSC), National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA), Department of Health (DOH), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

The DTI version includes the Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, DSWD, BIR, NCSC, NCDA, DOH, and DILG.


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About Natalee Broderick

Natalee Broderick

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