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P500 monthly discount for seniors, PWD approved by DTI —Romualdez

Speaker Martin Romualdez and Deputy Majority Leader Erwin Tulfo met with officials of the Department of Trade and Industry on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024,

Senior citizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) will enjoy a P500 monthly discount on groceries and prime commodities by March, Speaker Martin Romualdez said Wednesday.

Romualdez said he secured the commitment of relevant authorities in granting the said amount of discount during a meeting with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials led by Undersecretary Carolina Sanchez last night.

"They met Speaker Romualdez Tuesday night and informed him that they are amenable to his request for additional discounts for the elderly and PWDs and that this would be implemented by next month," Romualdez's office said in a statement.

Romualdez earlier sought a hike in the 5% discount that seniors and PWDs enjoy each week on groceries.

“I am delighted over the imminent implementation of increased discounts for our senior citizens and PWDs,” Romualdez said. 

The higher discount on commodities for the elderly came two days after President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. signed Republic Act (RA) 11982, or the Expanded Centenarian Act which grants a P10,000 cash gift to an elderly citizen upon reaching the age of 80 and every five years thereafter until the age of 95.

“This initiative to provide additional discounts for senior citizens and PWDs demonstrates the commitment of President Marcos to promoting inclusivity and social justice,” Romualdez said.

DTI's Sanchez, for her part, assured the public that the agency is working hard to increase the amount of discounts for seniors and PWDs.

Sanchez also noted that while the process of consultation with stakeholders is still ongoing, the necessary inter-agency circular to implement the additional discount would likely be issued and take effect within March. 

“It’s a joint issuance between the DA (Department of Agriculture), DTI and the DOE (Department of Energy),” Sanchez said.

Sanchez, however, clarified that the discounts cover only basic goods and prime commodities, or typical items consumed daily, such as rice, corn, bread, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, cooking oil, sugar, vegetables, fruits, onions, garlic, as well as fresh and processed milk, except medical-grade milk.

Also covered are manufactured goods, such as processed meat, sardines, and even corned beef, although the premium brands are not.

Senior citizens and PWDs also stand to enjoy additional discounts on basic construction supplies, like cement, hollow blocks, and electrical supplies, including light bulbs. 

Premium items, including non-essential foods such as cakes and pastries, are exempt from the additional discount. 

“I commend the efforts of the DTI and other concerned agencies for their diligence and commitment to advancing this crucial initiative. Their dedication to ensuring the timely implementation of these increased discounts is truly commendable and reflects our shared vision of a more inclusive and caring nation,” Romualdez said. —VAL, GMA Integrated News