SENATE Minority Leader Ralph Recto on Thursday said Republic Act 10754, which grants persons with disabilities goods discounts and tax breaks, remains in limbo after the Implementing Rules and Regulations have thus far been not issued by a multi-agency body drafting it.
Recto, one of the bill’s authors, said RA 10754 was signed into law seven months ago.
Despite the delay, the senaor said he is not yet giving in to “conspiracy theory” the IRR is being deliberately withheld due to the plan of the government’s economic managers to repeal all tax discounts of PWDs.
“I cling to the belief the better angels of man’s nature will prevail in the end. That compassion would triumph over cold fiscal numbers,” Recto said.
“I appeal once again to our friends in the executive that the IRR of Republic Act 10754 be released soon. It’s the missing link in its full implementation,” he added.
Signed by President Aquino on March 23, he said the law grants “a raft of tax breaks and other benefits for PWDs and their caregivers.
But without the IRR, which defines how its provisions will be “implemented, availed of, executed, RA 10754 “is like a new car which sits in the garage but can’t be driven out yet,” the senator noted.
Under the law, the Department of Social Welfare and Development will lead the drafting of the IRR, a task the Aquino administration failed to do in its last months in office.
Other agencies in the drafting body are the Department of Health, Department of Finance and the National Council on Disability Affairs.
The release of the IRR is seen by affected entities, like drug stores, as a requisite before they can carry out the provision of the law discounting purchases made by PWDs.
Recto, however, countered that “there ought to be no delay because there is an existing template, the one granted to senior citizens, insofar as discounts on purchases are made.”
The law, he explained, merely grants to PWDs benefits already enjoyed by seniors, “so we’re not starting from scratch. There is a tried system already in place. From points of sale in the stores, there’s already a system.”
Although the law contains the provision “that failure of the concerned agencies to promulgate the IRR shall not prevent the implementation of this Act upon its effectivity,” Recto said “for purposes of clear implementation, there is still no substitute for a set of written implementing rules.”
“The automatic implementation clause kicks in only when there is deliberate move to deny or delay the release of the IRR,” Recto said.
“Unless I have seen a written obituary from the DOF and the DSWD that they’re burying it, I am not giving up. No civil servant would like to be remembered as undertakers of this measure,” he said.
RA 10754 exempts PWDs from all sales taxes on certain goods and services, like transport fares, medicines, medical and dental services and laboratory fees, raising the discount to 32 percent.
It also grants a P25,000 annual income tax deduction to relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, who are caring for and living with a PWD.