Tuesday, April 16, 2024

E-commerce sites told to make senior, PWD discount ‘easy and obvious’ to avail

A senior citizen party-list group in Congress has called on online shopping sites to make the availment of senior and PWDs discount be user-friendly and obvious on their online portals and apps.

Senior Citizen party-List rep. Rodolfo “Ompong” Ordanes said in a statement that e-commerce websites should not hide or make it difficult to find the menu options for discounts of seniors and PWDs.

“Halimbawa, itong sa Grab, hindi agad obvious kung ano ang pipindutin para ma-identify ng customer na siya ay senior o PWD. Parang ayaw ibigay yung discount kasi nakatago o hindi agad makita,” he stated.

He, however, cited the good example of the Cebu Pacific website which automatically computes the 20-percent discount once the system determines that the customer is a senior citizen based on his or her birth date.

“I also note the benchmark or exemplar of LGU implementation of the discounts is the City Government of Quezon City because they have a working verifiable electronic database and ID system. QC has also been weeding out invalid ID holders,” he added.

But Ordanes noted that most point-of-sale counters of the non-compliant establishments do not have options on discounts for seniors, PWD, and students where applicable.

“Their machines and software should be updated. Most likely their machines and software are old and need to be reprogrammed. Underlying this problem is the businesses want to avoid incurring the expenses needed to comply,” he said.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives received an assurance that senior citizens and PWDs would soon enjoy their 20-percent discount on the use of expressways and skyways in Metro Manila, Southern Luzon, and Northern Luzon.

The committees on ways and means, senior citizens and special committee on PWDs were given the commitment by a representative of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) during the continuation of their investigation into gaps and confusion in the implementation of laws on discounts and benefits for the elderly, PWDs and solo parents.

Former public works undersecretary Rafael Yabut, who now heads SMC’s infrastructure group, told the committees that they support the grant of the 20-percent discount.

He said they would coordinate with the Toll Regulatory Board (TRB) and other concerned agencies on how to grant it.

Albay representative Joey Salceda, who is presiding over the inquiry as ways and means committee chairman, suggested that instead of deducting 20 percent from the cost of an expressway or skyway radio frequency identification (RFID) card or its top-up load, an equivalent amount would be added to the card price or additional load.

“In other words, it would be an add-on. If you buy P5,000, you get P6,000, or P1,000 more, which is equivalent to 20 percent. There is no loss on the part of the expressway/skyway operator,” he said.

He said the vehicle on which the RFID sticker would be attached should be registered under the name of the senior citizen or PWD.

Yabut agreed to the proposal of Salceda, who thanked San Miguel Corp. for its gesture.

SMC operates the Metro Manila and Ninoy Aquino International Airport skyway system, South Luzon Expressway, Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, and Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway.

The other toll roads in Luzon are operated by Metro Pacific Corp. These are North Luzon Expressway, Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway, Cavite-Laguna Expressway, Cavite Expressway, and NLEX-SLEX Connector.

No one spoke for Metro Pacific during the hearing.

Salceda also read a long of list violators of laws on discounts and benefits, which included big malls, drugstores, supermarkets, and food and transportation service providers.

He named Food Panda and Grab among the alleged violators.


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