The Cabinet official who will lead the writing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of the Expanded Persons with Disability Benefits Law said such will be “speedily crafted,” a promise which has elated the measure’s principal author in the Senate. The House version of the PWD bill was authored by Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez.
Senator Ralph Recto said that Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman promised the immediate crafting of the IRR of the law to ensure that PWDs will enjoy their latest privileges.
“I am glad that Secretary Dinky has made that promise. I am looking forward to the express delivery of the IRR,” Recto said citing a statement e-mailed to him by the DWSD official.
Recto explained that the IRR is “the crucial missing link because in this land, the reality is that laws can only be implemented after the rules have been promulgated.”
The newly signed Republic Act 10754, the “Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability,” tasks the DSWD, in consultation with the Department of Health, Department of Finance and the National Council on Disability Affairs to formulate the law’s IRR.
Recto also welcomed Soliman’s assurance that “persons with psychological disabilities” and their caregivers will enjoy the benefits of the law.
“Aside from the physiological disabilities, there are also psychological disabilities which should be taken into consideration in the IRR,” Soliman said.
Recto said the inclusion of those with psychological disabilities as beneficiaries “was in concurrence with the spirit of the law as envisioned by the authors.”
Citing government data, Recto said mental illness is the third most common form of disability next to visual and hearing impairments.
One in 14 PWDs, or 133,407 out of the 1.88 million reported in the 2015 national census, suffers from mental disability.
All of them will now be granted sales and tax discounts of up to 32 percent on selected goods and services.
RA 10754 also grants a P25,000 personal income tax deduction to those who care for them, Recto said.
A child, parent, sibling, or a relative of up to the fourth degree of consanguinity or affinity who is caring for or living with a PWD, who in turn is chiefly dependent on the relative and incapable of self-support, can claim additional tax exemption, Recto said.
The tax deduction of P25,000 annually for so-called “PWD caregivers” is the same as what is currently claimed by a parent of a child not over the age of 21.
The law amends the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997 and allows individual taxpayers caring for PWDs to treat them as dependents in deducting income tax due.
“This is certainly not enough but this is significant because it breaks the longstanding embargo that caring for a PWD cannot be claimed as a tax deduction,” Recto said.
Recto again thanked congressmen Romualdez, Miro Quimbo and Speaker Sonny Belmonte for spearheading the passage of the PWD law in the House and Senators Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay and Bam Aquino for shepherding its approval in the Senate.