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Order expanding senior discounts signed, in effect March 25

MANILA, Philippines —  Beginning March 25 senior citizens and persons with disabilities will soon enjoy a higher special discount when buying basic necessities and prime commodities (BNPC) each week.

The Departments of Trade and Industry, of Agriculture and of Energy signed yesterday a joint administrative order that increases the weekly cap on discounts.

Under the order, the special discount on BNPC purchases is raised to P125 per week from P65 per week, previously. BNPCs are those considered essential for consumers’ sustenance, particularly during calamities or emergencies.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the special discount is for their exclusive use of senior citizens and PWDs and without carryover of the unused amount.

“We recognize the valuable contributions of our senior citizens and persons with disabilities to our society, and this initiative reiterates our unwavering commitment to ensure their access to essential goods,” Pascual said.

Earlier, lawmakers directed the agencies to increase the discount cap to take into account present economic conditions and cost of living.

The special discount is separate from the 20 percent statutory discount granted under Republic Act 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, and Republic Act 10754 (Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of PWDs).

The latest order, which is expected to take effect on March 25 and reviewed every five years, also reiterates the right of senior citizens and PWDs to purchase their basic goods through a representative.

Special discounts also extend to online purchases but do not apply to registered barangay micro business establishments and cooperatives.

Meanwhile, the allies of President Marcos in the House of Representatives have expressed support for the measure that will provide employment opportunities for senior citizens who may have availed themselves of retirement, but are still physically strong to work.

Reps. Fidel Nograles of Rizal province’s fourth district and Jude Acidre of party-list Tingog lauded the move of the House ways and means committee to approve a still unnumbered bill ensuring employment for the elderly.

The panel, headed by Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, is