Explainer: How senior citizen, PWD discounts work

January 3, 2023 - 4:18 PM
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The illustration shows a cake, PWD and senior citizen signage (Clker Free Vectors via Pixabay; MabelAmber via Pixabay; NearnessProject/Instagram; Art by Interaksyon/James Patrick Cruz)

A social media user recently raised concern about how two different restaurants counted his discount as a person with a disability.

He shared that he bought two cakes from two different shops using his PWD card. 

One of the shops gave him a P500 discount, while the other just gave him a P17 markdown. 

The shop that gave him a P17 discount explained that the cake is good for 10 to 12 people and that the discount should only apply to one. 

This sparked a discussion online on whether the reasoning of the restaurant that gave him a P17 discount is correct. 

What does the law say?

According to Certified Public Accountant and lawyer  Kenneth Manuel, the shop that gave him a P17 discount may be correct.

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“Without commenting on the propriety of the amount of discount (idk the cake price), Conti’s may be correct in dividing the price of the cake as the discount should only apply to items that are for the ‘exclusive use and enjoyment’ of the PWD,” he wrote in a tweet accompanied by slides from his lecture in a review center. 

“The phrase ‘exclusive use and enjoyment’ of the senior citizen shall mean ‘for the senior citizen’s/PWDs personal consumption’ only,” Manuel’s slide reads. 

The lawyer is referencing Rule IV, Section 6 of the IRR OF RA 10754 which says that “Persons with a disability shall be entitled to the grant of 20% discount and VAT-exemption on the purchase of certain goods and services from all establishments for their exclusive use, enjoyment or availment.

Manuel’s slide also noted that “food, drinks, and other consumable items purchased by the SC/PWD shall be processed separately as an independent transaction from his/her non-eligible companions.”

Why is there a difference in the application of discounts? 

“The restaurant may divide a food item or a group meal on how many persons an item may serve/feed as it would be absurd to require the PWD to actually consume a food item in front of the cashiers/food service personnel,” Manuel explained. 

“Little guidance is found in the regulations/circulars as to the specifics; hence, arguably, leeway is given to restaurants to determine the number of persons which may be served by a given item,” he added. 

He said some restaurants follow the “divisor strictly, while others do not.”

The lawyer also warned that restaurants that “over grant discounts” may face the risk of “disallowance of deductions that they claim for tax purposes” although he said that it is difficult to audit. 

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