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More privileges for PWDs with expanded rules

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by Ellalyn De Vera

Persons with disabilities (PWDs) should be aware of additional benefits and privileges already available to them under Republic Act (RA) 10754.

Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo explained that there is no need for supplemental guidelines from implementing agencies because the law and implementing rules and regulations (IRR) are sufficient to grant additional discounts for the purchases of PWDs.

The IRR of RA 10754 or An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability was signed on Dec. 1, 2016 by DSWD, Department of Health, and National Council on Disability Affairs.

Availing of privileges commenced on Dec. 23, 2016.

“Our PWDs can now avail of the discounts. There should be no problem about availment as the IRR is sufficient basis for the grant of the discounts. If they encounter problems in availing of their privileges or they have further inquiries, they can contact the NCDA,” Taguiwalo said.

The law grants PWDs with exemption from value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of certain goods and services from all establishments subject to VAT for their exclusive use, enjoyment, or availment. This is on top of the 20 percent discount they are already entitled to under existing laws.

It covers restaurants, recreation centers, such as theaters, cinema houses, and concert halls; and lodging establishments; such as inns, motorists hotels, and dormitories. It also applies to the purchase of medicines and foods for special medical purposes; medical and dental services, including laboratory fees and professional fees of attending doctors; domestic air, sea, and land transportation travel; and funeral and burial services.

For this purpose, the law requires all establishments to place signages of the benefits and privileges of persons with disability within their premises so PWDs will know what they are entitled to.

It also declares that subsequent purchases made by the PWDs on the same day from the same establishment are still subject to VAT-exemption and 20 percent discount.

Other salient features of the IRR include the reiteration of the rights of PWDs to social insurance thru the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, PAG-IBIG, educational assistance, special discounts in the purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities, and express lanes in all commercial and government establishments.

It also includes the provision of tax incentives for those caring for and living with persons with disabilities up to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity.

Its unique features include the inclusion of certain vitamins, minerals and herbs in the definition of drug or medicine as long as these are in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s cut off as well as foods for special medical purposes, and making the benefits and privileges available to Filipinos who hold foreign passports but are registered as dual citizens and those who have re-acquired their Filipino citizenship.

It is important to note, however, that double discounts are not allowed.

This means that if a person with disability is a senior citizen, who is also entitled to a 20 percent discount under his/her valid senior citizen identification card (ID), the PWD should use either his/her Senior Citizen ID or PWD ID card to avail of the 20 percent discount.

Persons with disability will need to present a proof of entitlement to enjoy their expanded benefits and privileges such as an ID issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office or the City/Municipal Social Welfare Development Office of the place where the PWD resides, the passport of the concerned person with apparent disability, or an ID issued by the NCDA.

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