Macalintal misleads, claims 20% SC discount applies to promos


Senatorial candidate Atty. Romulo Macalintal’s claim that the 20% senior citizen discount can apply to promotional discounts is misleading. His claim was aired on DZBB’s “Ikaw Na Ba?” senatorial interview, January 28.

Pinaglaban ko rin na kahit naka-promo ka, dapat entitled pa kami sa 20% discount. Pero at least nagising natin ang taumbayan at nakakuha kami ng ruling sa Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) na kahit na naka-promo ‘yan, entitled pa rin kami sa 20% discount.”

(I fought for the entitlement to a 20% discount even if there is a promotion. But at least we were able to awaken the consciousness of the people and we got a ruling from the [DTI] that even if something is under a promotion, we are still entitled to a 20% discount).

– Romulo Macalintal, “Ikaw Na Ba? The Senatorial Interview 2019,” DZBB, January 28

Contrary to his claim, senior citizens cannot claim their 20% discount on top of promotional discounts. Senior citizens can only avail whichever is the higher discount, unless (1) the establishment allows the double discount itself, (2) it is an in-store promo not acknowledged by DTI (and thus allows for a double discount), or (3) it does not have a permit from DTI (and is thus not under DTI’s policy jurisdiction of no-double-discounts).

In the Philippines, there are three major laws providing benefits and privileges to senior citizens:  R.A. 7432 “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003,” R.A. 9994 “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010” which is an amendment to R.A. 7432, and R.A. 10645, another amendment to R.A. 7432 providing mandatory PhilHealth coverage for senior citizens.

R.A. 9994 which covers Macalintal’s claim, however, says in Sec. 4 (l) (3) that “[i]n the purchase of goods and services which are on promotional discount, the senior citizen can avail of the promotional discount or the discount provided herein, whichever is higher.”

In addition, the handbook on “Salient Features of Selected Fair Trade Laws and Consumer Protection Laws and DTI Consumer Protection Programs” states that the double discount “…shall not be claimed if the senior citizen/PWD claims a higher discount as may be granted by the retail establishment.”

Additionally, the response (referred to by Macalintal in the interview as a ‘ruling’) issued by DTI stated that the 20% discount is over and above paid-for privileges or memberships only, not promos as Macalintal said.

Acording to Homer Bunyi, Senior Trade and Industry Development Specialist of DTI’s Consumer Trade Policy Division, this is a case filed by Macalintal against a hotel for not honoring his 20% senior citizen discount on top of the hotel’s membership discount. According to Bunyi, the hotel did not have a sales promotion permit and so Macalintal complained. Bunyi cited R.A. 9994 as prohibiting double discounts, and explained the response issued by DTI regarding the case: “Bawal ang double discount. Kung under promo, bawal. Kung hindi, both can apply. As far as DTI is concerned, a promo is determined if we issued a sales promotion permit (Double discounts are prohibited. If it is under promotion, it’s prohibited. If not, both can apply).”

News articles on this case were published online by several news sites such as BusinessMirrorPhilippine Daily Inquirer, and ABS-CBN News, stating that the senior citizen’s 20% discount granted by R.A. 9994 is “over and above” discounts offered by establishments under their paid-for memberships or privileges.


Editor’s Note:

DZUP is part of the fact-checking collaborative project,, which is spearheaded by the UP Department of Journalism.



Rappler. FAST FACTS: What benefits are senior citizens entitled to?. October 8, 2015. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Manila Times. Golden opportunities. August 31, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Department of Interior and Local Government. Republic Act 7432. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Department of Trade and Industry. Salient Features of Selected Fair Trade Laws and Consumer Protection Laws and DTI Consumer Protection Programs.

Official Gazette. Republic Act No. 9994. February 15, 2010. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Official Gazette. Republic Act No. 10645. November 5, 2014. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Inquirer. No double discounts for seniors. June 7, 2017. Accessed April 18, 2019.

GMA News. DTI reminds public of rules on 20% discount for senior citizens, PWDs. December 9, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

Moneymax. Senior Citizen Discount and Benefits: Important Facts You Might Not Know. July 20, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

ABS-CBN News. Senior citizen discounts and benefits: important things to know. July 25, 2018. Accessed April 18, 2019.

BusinessMirror. Macalintal wins landmark case on elderly discounts. October 19, 2014. Accessed May 2, 2019.

Philippine Daily Inquirer. Macalintal sues Sofitel execs for denying him 20% senior citizen discount. June 3, 2014. Accessed May 2, 2019.

ABS-CBN News. DTI sides with ‘senior citizen’ in Sofitel case. October 19, 2014. Accessed May 2, 2019.