House OKs enhanced social pension bills

Delon Porcalla - The Philippine Star
House OKs enhanced social pension bills
Composite photo of Senior Citizen and PWD.

MANILA, Philippines —  Three bills enhancing social pension for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs) were approved on third and final reading as administration and opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives crossed party lines on Tuesday.

Universal pension for seniors (House Bill 10423), enhanced discounts (HB 10312) and additional services in the eGov PH Super App platform (HB 10313) have all been approved.

HB 10423 received an overwhelming 232-0 affirmative votes. HB 10312 and HB 10313 both received 235-0 votes.

HB 10423 seeks to expand the current social pension program to include all seniors, not just indigents.

Non-indigent seniors would receive a P500 monthly stipend once the measure is signed into law.

Within five years, all seniors would be entitled to a universal social pension equivalent to a monthly stipend of at least P1,000, regardless of any other pension benefits they may receive from other pension providers.

HB 10312 clarified that existing discounts for seniors and PWDs should be treated as additional to “any prevailing promotional offers or discounts extended by business establishments.”

Proponents of the measure – House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe and Reps. Joey Salceda, Erwin Tulfo, Gus Tambunting, Luis Raymund Villafuerte and Rufus Rodriguez – wanted the 20 percent discount and exemption from value-added tax, as stated in the law, intact.

“The 20 percent discount for senior citizens or PWDs applied on certain goods and services, the input tax attributable to the VAT-exempt sale to seniors and PWDs and the special discount on basic necessities and prime commodities shall be treated as part of deductible expense pursuant to Section 34 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997,” the bill noted.

HB 10313 would include services for seniors and PWDs in the eGov PH Super App.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology is tasked with incorporating dedicated sections with a “user-friendly interface including adjustable text sizes, voice assistance and other features.”

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