Senior discounts expanded; industrialist Ito Carlos passes away

VIRTUAL REALITY - Tony Lopez - The Philippine Star

Discounts and tax exemptions given senior citizens (SCs) and persons with disabilities (PWDs) are deductible business expenses. And more discounts are coming.

So says Albay 2nd District Rep. Joey Sarte Salceda, chair of the powerful House ways and means committee. The panel is codifying all laws, rules and regulations that grant benefits and privileges to seniors and PWDs.

Salceda on May 15, 2024, filed three bills to clarify and enhance benefits and discounts for SCs and PWDs.

The first bill, HB 10312, enhances the discounts on the purchase of goods and services of senior citizens and PWDs. The discounts and tax exemption apply even if the establishment has its own discounts and promos.

HB 10312 enables establishments to deduct as business expenses the discounts and tax exemption given seniors and PWDs. The establishments, however, must register and comply with some government-mandated paperwork.

The second bill, HB 10313, includes seniors and PWDs in the EGov Super App. “This bill represents a step towards progress, efficiency and inclusivity for senior citizens and persons with disabilities in this digital age,” says Salceda.

HB 10313 establishes an alternative identity verification system and paves the way to forego the bulky and inconvenient purchase booklets seniors and PWDs must carry with them to enjoy the discounts.

In December 2022, the EGov PH Super App was launched by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), streamlining access to government documents, permits, identifications and clearances, thereby enhancing the ease of doing business for the public.

The app does away with long queues, tedious paperwork and frustrating bureaucracy. “With our smartphones, we accomplish what used to take hours or even days,” says Salceda.

The third bill, HB 10314, “An Act Rationalizing the Benefits and Privileges of Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities,” reiterates that discounts and tax exemptions apply on top of any promotional offer or discount extended by business establishments.

HB 10314 grants seven benefits, says Salceda:

First, it distinguishes between business promotions and essential benefits and recognizes these discounts as deductible expenses.

Second, it extends the 20 percent discount and VAT exemption to parking fees and skyways.

Third, it grants a 15 percent discount on crucial services such as electricity and water, reaffirming our pledge to ensure their well-being and comfort.

Fourth, to pursue workforce inclusivity, the bill provides a 25 percent tax deduction to employers who hire senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Fifth, the bill exempts SCs and PWDs from training fees crucial for their continuous growth and reiterates their access to vital services such as medical care, vocational training and social assistance.

Sixth, to fast-track the process of the availment of benefits, the bill creates a dedicated section within the e-gov app to provide seamless access to government services for our senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Seventh, the bill allows legal guardians to actively assist their wards in accessing benefits, per the Family Code, to prevent exclusion.

At present, seniors and PWDs, by law, are entitled to 20 percent discount and exemption from value-added tax (VAT) on goods and services. They also get a special five percent discount on the purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities, granted to senior citizens and persons with disabilities. These discounts apply on top of any prevailing promotional offer or discount extended by business establishments.

A restaurant offers a promo meal of P1,000 and insists since it is a promo, the meal price can no longer be subject to the 20 percent discount and 12 percent VAT exemption. Wrong.

The P1,000 promo meal should be reduced first by 12 percent for the VAT exemption, to make it P880. Then that P880 will have to be reduced again, by 20 percent for the regular 20 percent discount, to make it P704. The effective discount becomes P296 or 29.6 percent. Not zero discount.

If the restaurant insists on having no discount with its P1,000 promo meal, the establishment must show permit from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for insisting on a bogus promo meal.

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I mourn the passing of one of the Philippines’ quintessential and ablest industrialists, Meneleo “Ito” Carlos Jr., the patriarch of the chemical conglomerate Resins Inc., on Friday, May 17, 2024. He was the father of the award-winning former Marikina mayor Marides Carlos Fernando, the “Ate” of the Carlos siblings.

The wake is at the Queen of Angels Chapel, Riverbanks Center, Barangka, Marikina City, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. from Sunday, May 19 to Tuesday, May 21. Interment is Wednesday morning, May 22.

Ito Carlos held top positions and key roles in the Federation of Philippine Industries, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference for Human Development.

He was an officer of Resins since its incorporation in 1955 and became president in 1980 following the retirement of his father, Resins founder Meneleo Carlos Sr., and powered the company to a vigorous expansion amid the challenges of globalization that killed many Philippine manufacturing industries and saw China’s global dominance with its cheap low-quality products.

Resins Inc. products are used in plywood, woodworking, adhesives, coatings, plastics, shipbuilding and repair, insurance, agri-chemicals and construction.

Carlos represented the business sector in government-led multisectoral bodies such as the negotiating panel for the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, Council of Advisers of Energy Affairs and Committee on Power Conservation and Demand Management (Power Patrol).

He was recognized as the Grandfather of “RO-RO,” the roll on/ roll off project that facilitates seamless movement of people and goods from Mindanao to Luzon through the Visayas.

An advocate of the wood industry and trees as a solution to climate change, he won the coveted 2015 MOLAWIN (Most Outstanding Leadership Award in the Wood Industry) by the Philippine Wood Producers Association.

His dream was always to help the development of the country and its people.

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Email: [email protected]




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