DOF open to 30% discount for senior citizens
Tagbilaran City (30 June) -- Amid disheartening complaints of senior citizens being refused the mandatory discount from establishments, the Department of Finance (DOF) is now open to raising discounts from 20 to 30 %.
In a position paper, Finance Undersecretary Gil Beltran said the DOF supports raising the mandatory discounts as embodied in a Senate bill but cautioned lawmakers against giving the national government the responsibility of giving the sector a P1,500 monthly stipend, another provision of the senate bill.
The Senate bill intends to provide additional assistance through a monthly stipend of P1500 to the more vulnerable senior citizens, but its also proposed to earmark VAT (value added tax) proceeds to fund the proposed monthly stipend.
Beltran explained that saving portion of the VAT proceeds for this endeavor means P4 billion monthly revenue loss for the NG or about P53 billion loss in a year.
"The most basic argument against earmarking of revenues is that it limits flexibility of government in budgeting its scarce revenues that misallocation of resources is not a remote possibility to take place," he said.
Aside from increasing the discount for senior citizens stipulated under Republic Act 7432, otherwise known as the Senior Citizen Act, and granting 20 percent discount to services and goods not covered by VAT, the proposed measure also wants senior citizens to be exempted from the payment of individual income taxes if their annual taxable income is not over the latest poverty threshold in the country.
This provision, Beltran said, should be in line with the incentives included under RA 9504, otherwise known as the Minimum Wage Law. (PIA) [top]