A BILL seeking to increase the discount given to senior citizens and exempting them from paying value-added tax (VAT) on their water and electricity bills has been filed in the House of Representatives.

Under the measure, Filipino citizens who are at least 60 years old will be granted a 10% discount on their household’s monthly consumption and will not be charged the 12% VAT.

The discount and exemption will be applied to residential units registered under the senior citizen’s name provided that the latter is actually living in the address indicated in the water or electricity bill.

“The savings from the additional discounts and exemptions will help our senior citizens have an additional budget for their healthcare needs,” the solons said in House Bill No. 8432.

The bill seeks to amend section four of Republic Act No. 9994 or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, which only grants a 5% discount to senior citizens’ monthly water and electricity rates.

The current law also allows VAT exemptions for senior citizens only for purchasing basic goods, medicines, payment of medical and dental services, transportation fares, access to recreational places, and other services.

Under the new measure, application of the privileges is capped at a monthly consumption of 150 kilowatt hours of electricity and 50 cubic meters of water.

The measure also applies per housing unit regardless of the number of senior citizens living there.

As of 2020, there were 9.22 million Filipino senior citizens, accounting for 8.5% of the total household population, based on Philippine Statistics Authority data.

The authors of the bill are Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Lordan G. Suan, and Misamis Oriental Representatives Christian S. Unabia and Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano.

Similar bills are pending at the Senate committee level. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz