Statement of CHR Commissioner Beda Angeles Epres, Focal for Older Persons, supporting the P500 monthly grocery discount for Seniors and Persons with disabilities

Statement of CHR Commissioner Beda Angeles Epres, Focal for Older Persons, supporting the P500 monthly grocery discount for Seniors and Persons with disabilities

Commissioner Beda Angeles Epres, Focal Commissioner for Older Persons of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), supports and acknowledges the proposed P500 monthly grocery discount for senior citizens and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

“This initiative reflects the Commission’s collective efforts to improve the quality of life for our elderly and persons with disabilities. This also demonstrates our shared commitment to inclusivity and welfare for all,” Commissioner Epres said.

According to news reports, House Speaker Martin Romualdez stated that he secured the commitment of relevant authorities to grant the aforementioned discount during a meeting with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) officials. This would result in a monthly increase to P500 from the current P260 discount on groceries and premium items enjoyed by the elderly and persons with disabilities.

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) states that everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of themselves and their families, including food, clothing, housing, medical care, and necessary social services.

Furthermore, Article 11.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) states that “the State Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for [him]self and [his] self, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions.”

Republic Act (RA) No. 9994, or the Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010, and RA 10754, or an Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disabilities, demonstrate that supporting senior citizens and persons with disabilities is a fundamental State responsibility. Therefore, the State is obligated to provide full support for the improvement of seniors and persons with disabilities’ overall well-being and integration into society.

Given the rising cost of living, particularly in essential areas such as food, healthcare, housing, and transportation, the CHR believes that increased discounts will relieve financial burdens and contribute to ensuring a decent standard of living for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

In line with this, we recognise the efforts of our legislators, particularly Speaker Romualdez and other relevant stakeholders, to establish a policy that will address the needs of our elders and persons with disabilities. This represents a tangible step toward creating a more compassionate and equitable community for all.

The Commission remains committed to achieving its mandate of upholding a society in which everyone, regardless of age or disability, can live with respect, dignity, and equal opportunities. ###