Alternative senior citizen’s ID Card

TOP OF MIND (The Philippine Star) - November 16, 2015 - 9:00am

While queuing to order my lunch at a fast food chain, I overheard a conversation between the cashier and a senior citizen customer. The cashier refused to grant the customer the 20 percent senior citizen’s discount because of his failure to present his senior citizen’s identification (ID) card. The elderly man apparently forgot to bring his senior citizen’s ID card, and the cashier refused to accept any other identification document as proof the customer is indeed a senior citizen. It is depressing to witness a situation like this, where the benefits clearly granted by law to our senior citizens are still subject to stringent documentary requirements and procedures before they can avail and enjoy them.  

It seems this practice of business establishments of relying solely on the senior citizen’s ID as the only required document before a senior citizen may avail of the discount under the law may be rooted Article 6 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 9994 (otherwise known as the Expanded senior citizens Act of 2010), which states that “for the availment of benefits and privileges under the Act and these Rules, the senior citizen, or his/her duly authorized representative, shall present as proof of eligibility, a valid and original Senior Citizens’ ID card issued by the Head of the Office of Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) of the place where the senior citizen resides, and which shall be honored nationwide.”

However, a careful reading of the IRR show the identification document is not limited to the senior citizen’s ID issued by the OSCA where the senior citizen resides. In fact, Article 5.5 of the said IRR defines said identification document as any document or proof of being a senior citizen which may be used for the availment of benefits and privileges under the Act and its Rules. It shall be any of the following:

a.         Senior Citizens’ ID Card issued by OSCA in the city or municipality where the elderly resides

b.         The Philippine passport of the elderly person or senior citizen concerned

c.          Other valid documents that establish the senior citizen or elderly person as a citizen of the Republic and at least 60 years of age, which shall include but not limited to the following government-issued identification documents indicating an elderly’s birthdate or age: driver’s license, voters ID, SSS/GSIS ID, PRC card, postal ID

It can be seen from the above-stated provisions that the law never intended to limit the identification document of senior citizens to the senior citizen’s ID card to avail of the benefits and privileges granted to them. This practice or interpretation of honoring only the senior citizen’s ID issued by the OSCA is clearly erroneous and contravenes with the over-all objective of the law which accords the necessary benefits and privileges to our senior citizens. It is basic principle and it must be remembered that in interpreting laws or statutes, words must be subservient to its intent, and not intent to the words. Every law must receive a sensible interpretation to promote its objectives for which they are enacted. They should be given their practical construction that will give life to the law, rather than defeat their objectives.

Consistent with the preceding principle and to remedy the pervasive problem encountered by senior citizens, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) issued Revenue Regulations (RR) No. 11-2015 on Oct. 1, 2015, reiterating and bolstering the senior citizens’ ID card issued by OSCA is not the sole identification document that senior citizens may use in availing of discounts and benefits. As provided under the said RR, identification document may be used by a senior citizen for the availment of benefits and privileges and shall be any of the following:

1.         Senior  Citizens’  ID  Card  issued  by  the OSCA in the city or 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:

a.         Digitized Social Security System ID

b.         Government Service Insurance System ID

c.          Professional Regulation Commission ID

d.         Integrated Bar of the Philippines ID

e.         Unified Multi-Purpose ID (UMID)

f.          Driver’s License

The Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010 was enacted to give life to Article XV, Section 4, of the Constitution which declares it is the duty of the family to take care of its elderly members while the State may design social security programs for them. It is also consistent with the state’s objective of providing adequate social services and to improve quality of life in their twilight years.

We must love, care and treasure the elderly people in our society. As they say, after a lifetime of working, raising families and contributing to the success of this nation in countless ways, senior citizens deserve to retire with dignity.

* **

Andrea Marciana B. Diwa is a Supervisor from the Tax Group of KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co. (KPMG RGM&Co.), the Philippine member firm of KPMG International. KPMG RGM&Co. has been recognized as a Tier 1 tax practice, Tier 1 transfer pricing practice and Tier 1 leading tax transactional firm in the Philippines by the International Tax Review.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or KPMG RGM&Co. For comments or inquiries, please email ph-inquiry@kpmg.com or rgmanabat@kpmg.com.

KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co. will host a one-day seminar on Jan. 28, 2016 in Makati City. Be updated with the most recent tax and corporate laws, cases, regulations and issuances of various government agencies. Details and invites will be sent subsequently. The seminar will include CPE credits.

Interested parties can call (02) 885-7000 local 768 or 429.

For more information on KPMG in the Philippines, you may visit www.kpmg.com.ph.



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