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Sunday, May 19, 2024

Speaker nudges 2 gov’t agencies on PWD benefits

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Speaker Martin Romualdez yesterday called on the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) to update Congress on the compliance rate on a law exempting people with disability from paying the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on specific goods and services.

Romualdez, principal author of Republic Act No. 10754 that expanded the benefits and privileges of persons with disabilities (PWDs), urged the House of Representatives to utilize its oversight function by directing the relevant committee to investigate, in aid of legislation, reports on the improper grant of discounts to PWDs as well as senior citizens.

“We want to know how the concerned people have been complying with this law. We should show ‘malasakit’ (compassion) over the plight of our PWDs,” he said.

“We just want to ensure that PWDs are enjoying the benefits they deserve under the law three years after its enactment. Let us work to beef up efforts in informing the public about the standards set by law for the rights and privileges of our PWDs,” he added.

The VAT exemption is on top of the 20 percent discount that PWDs have been enjoying under RA No. 9442 or the amended Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

The exemption covers the purchase of medicines and food for special medical purposes, medical and dental services, including laboratory fees and the professional fees of attending doctors, fares for domestic air, sea, and land transportation travel, and funeral and burial services.

All establishments are mandated to display signs listing the benefits and privileges of PWDs within their premises.

The law also includes the provision of tax incentives for those caring for and living with PWDs up to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity.

To avail themselves of the exemptions, PWDs should present an ID issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office or their local Social Welfare Development Office where the PWD resides or an ID issued by the NCDA.

Romualdez said potential cases of abuse by some individuals in the privileges granted to PWDs should also be looked into.

“Only legitimate PWDs should benefit from the law,” he said.

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