My friend Bob sent me a link to an interesting article this am. It seems that after many years of floundering about the Department of Tourism might finally be getting the message,.
Read the article on the possible extension of senior citizen privileges here:
DOT: It’s more fun to be a senior in Philippines
MANILA, Philippines—Soon it will be more fun being a senior citizen in the Philippines, which is heading toward becoming the first country in the world to give discounts to retirees of any nationality.
Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said Thursday that a policy is in the works that will entitle foreign senior citizens visiting the Philippines to the same 20 percent discount on goods and services enjoyed by elderly Filipinos.
“By the end of the year, the Philippines could be the first country in the world to grant discounts to all senior citizens arriving in the Philippines,” Jimenez said in a speech at a general membership meeting of the Makati Business Club. … Read more
Now I don’t want to sound negative, but there is a reason I highlighted the word “possible” above is, the Philippines is full of “plans” that are due to be implemented, someday.
When I read Secretary Jimenez’s prediction that the rules will be changed by “By the end of the year”, I chuckled. It brought back memories of years back when I worked with my dad. My father was the maintenance and construction manager for ac company back in Newark NJ who rented office space. Clients were always asking for modifications, new construction, electrical work and such for there offices. My dad had a standard reply when the asked when the work would be done. “By the end of the year”. Then, dad would turn to me, privately, and chuckle. “Did you notice I was careful not to say which year”?
I was reminded of this ‘standard policy’ a couple days ago when I was driving down a provincial highway and encountered a a sign stating there was abridge out ahead. I happened to notice the sign had prominently displayed the logo of a big Philippine project, the “North rail System” … extending the existing Philippine National rail system north to the new Manila airport at Clark air base, north of the city.
The “North Rail” (which is still very much needed) was a big, going concern when my wife and I moved here nearly six years back. Matter of act, we selected our current home based on the fact we would be nearly in walking distance to a station on the North rail. We’d be able to hop on a clean, modern, high-speed train and zip right into the city, avoiding traffic, crating less pollution, etc.
Well that was six years ago and absolutely nothing has been done in nearly five years on the North Rail.
It was already funded by a loan from China, of all places, and by today the trains should be zipping back and forth, helping to relieve Manila’s choking, desperate traffic problems. The money is all spent, long gone, on what nobody can actually say … and all the remains as a reminder is a huge weed-choked lot where the station was supposed to be and a few re-purposed road signs.
So, while I hope the secretary’s prediction comes true, I won’t hold my breath about the “By the end of the year” prediction. We shall see.
Meanwhile, those of you who haven’t yet done so should read my article on the possibility of going to jail over a bucket of chicken.
…Only Philippine Citizens may legally use the discounts and other benefits covered by RA 9994. I get questions more often than you might think regarding this question, and I see it discussed, sometimes Ad nauseam, in groups and forums of interest to foreigners living in the Philippines. (oh, and by the way, if you are a former Filipino (as in living here under a 13(g) permanent visa, you are not a Filipino citizen for the purposes of this law, so the law does not cover you either.) The language was written the way it is for a specific purpose … to distinctly define who is eligible … and there are a number of my foreigner friends, for example, who have long believed they were entitled to the senior discount privileges … and even some who already avail of them … but the new law is pretty specific. Only Philippine Citizens are covered. …
Keep in mind for today, the law regarding the Senior Citizen Discount is very strict regarding the criminality of foreigners (and even Filipinos who don’t live in the Philippines) “availing” of the government’s senior citizen discount.
To me, a senor citizen discount is not worth jail and deportation. As to others? YMMV.