Dear PAO,

I have been taking care of my grandson since he was a baby because both of his parents have passed away. Since the summer vacation is coming up, I am planning to take him to a hotel resort that has an amusement park as well. I was given gift certificates for this resort by my nephew for my birthday that I have yet to use. Can I get senior discount in a hotel? If yes, can I use the gift certificates and still avail of the senior discount? Please advise.


Dear Neptali,

Republic Act (RA) 9994, or more commonly known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2010,” grants various benefits to resident Filipino citizens who are at least 60 years of age.

In particular, the benefit of a discounted rate is granted to them for the availment of services in hotels and similar establishments as well as admissions in amusement places. Section 4 of RA 9994 clearly provides:

“Section 4 of Republic Act No. 7432, as amended by Republic Act No. 9257, otherwise known as the “Expanded Senior Citizens Act of 2003”, is hereby further amended to read as follows:

“SEC. 4. Privileges for the Senior Citizens. –

The senior citizens shall be entitled to the following:

“(a) the grant of twenty percent (20%) discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT), if applicable, on the sale of the following goods and services from all establishments, for the exclusive use and enjoyment or availment of the senior citizen xxx

“(7) on the utilization of services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants and recreation centers;

“(8) on admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses and concert halls, circuses, leisure and amusement; xxx”

Accordingly, you may convey with the authorized personnel of the hotel resort of your intention to avail of the senior discount provided that you present your identification card issued by the Office of the Senior Citizen Affairs, your passport, or any other valid document or government issued ID showing you are a Filipino citizen and at least 60 years old.

Insofar as availing of senior discount when using gift certificates in hotels and amusement or leisure venues is concerned, RA 10962, also known as the “Gift Check Act of 2017,” permits the same. Section 8 of RA 10962 expressly states:

“SEC. 8. Applicability to Promotional Programs, Warranties, Return Policies, and Senior Citizens and Persons with Disability Discounts. – Promotional sales activities, loyalty programs, return policies for cash purchases, and discounts for senior citizens and persons with disabilities as provided for under relevant laws and rules and regulations, shall likewise apply to purchases of goods and services that are paid for with gift checks.”

We hope that we were able to answer your queries. This advice is based solely on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. Our opinion may vary when other facts are changed or elaborated.

Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to [email protected]