While electronic commerce (e-commerce) has long emerged, it has just attained unprecedented heights in popularity and relevance amidst the havoc brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. The left and right lockdowns and restrictions which shackled the world for quite some time, constrained everyone, even those who are unwilling, to resort to e-commerce platforms, regardless of age and appetite for learning new technology. Indeed, e-commerce has immensely impacted our lives. Although the Covid-19 virus may well be on its way to irrelevance, certainly, e-commerce will continue to affect all of us, the young ones and once young alike.
As e-commerce becomes a way of life for senior citizens and persons with disabilities, a pressing concern arises: How can they avail of the discount privileges mandated by law with respect to their purchases through e-commerce platforms?
Fortunately the concerned government agencies have duly responded. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC), the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), the Department of Health (DOH), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) worked hand in hand to ensure that the rapidly evolving digital technology will not undermine the benefits available to senior citizens and persons with disability under the law. Just recently, the aforementioned government agencies issued JOINT MEMORANDUM (JMC) No. 0l -Series of 2022, entitled GUIDELINES ON THE PROVISION OF THE MANDATORY STATUTORY BENEFITS AND PRIVILEGES OF THE SENIOR CITIZENS AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ON THEIR PURCHASES THROUGH ONLINE (E-COMMERCE) AND PHONE CALL/SMS . BIR Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 71-2022, dated 18 May 2022, circularizes the JMC.
The JMC specifies separate guidelines on purchases through the internet and online platform and on purchases through the telephone or mobile phone call. It also provides for the proper constitution of an authorized representative. This article covers the guidelines with respect to e-commerce purchases through the internet or online platform.
E-Commerce Purchases through the Internet or Online Platform
Prior to placement of order, the Senior Citizen or Person with Disability must declare to the online platform/merchant that he/she is a Senior Citizen or a Person with Disability. Upon confirmation of order/s, the Senior Citizen or Person with Disability must provide/attach a scanned copy/screenshot or image of his/her ID, as explained in paragraph 6.1 of the JMC.
In addition, the following shall also be attached by the Senior Citizen or the Person with Disability upon placement of the order:
For purchases of medicines:
Copy of the medical prescription, copy of the front page and last entry page of the Senior Citizen/ Person with Disability purchase booklet.
For purchases of basic necessities and prime commodities:
Copy of the front page and last entry page of the Senior Citizen/Person with Disability purchase booklet for commodities.
Upon delivery of the goods/orders or performance of the service purchased through the online platform the Senior Citizen or the Person with Disability, or his/her duly authorized representative, shall present the original copy of the Senior Citizen or the Person with Disability proof of entitlement which was attached during the confirmation of his/her order/s together with the authorization letter, if applicable.
In the event that upon delivery of the goods/orders or performance of the service, the Senior Citizen, Person with Disability, or his/her authorized representative shall fail to present the Senior Citizen/ Person with Disability lD, or any government issued lD, as proof of discount entitlement and authorization letter, if applicable, the concerned platform merchant may charge the Senior Citizen and the Person with Disability the full amount of the goods/orders or service.
Guidelines under Paragraph 6.1 of the JMC
Purchaser is a Senior Citizen
The Senior Citizen must present his/her Senior Citizen lD issued by the Office of the Senior Citizens Affairs (OSCA) in the city or municipality where the senior citizen resides, or any Government-issued lD, which reflects the name, picture, date of birth and nationality of the senior citizen, and other pertinent requirements as prescribed in the succeeding provisions of the JMC.
Purchaser is a Person with Disability
The Person with Disability must present the Person with Disability lD, issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (C/MSWDO) of the place where the person with disability resides, or the NCDA, and other pertinent requirements as prescribed in the succeeding provisions of the JMC.
Purchaser is both a Senior Citizen and a Person with Disability
If a purchaser is both a Senior Citizen and a Person with Disability, the purchaser shall only be allowed to avail either the discount for Senior Citizens or the discount for Person with Disability, and he/she shall present the relevant lD as required under the preceding paragraphs.
Purchaser is a Child with Disability
If the purchaser is children with disability, the parents have the full authority to purchase the product for their child and must only present the lD as required in the JMC.