By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Outgoing Iloilo City Rep. Jerry Treñas is calling on his colleagues to finally pass the measure seeking to grant additional privileges for persons with disabilities (PWDs) before Congress’ sine die adjournment next month.
The principal author of the bill said Congress can still approve House Bill 9106, which was passed on second reading on Tuesday.
“We still have time to approve this measure and pass it into law. We should make the most of the remaining session days so we can make life easier and better for our PWDs,” Treñas, the incoming Iloilo City mayor, said in a statement.
He said House Bill 9106, which seeks to amend provisions of Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, calls for the mandatory employment of PWDs in government offices, government corporations. and even in the private sector.
The measure mandates all government agencies, offices or government corporations to fill up at least two percent of all positions for qualified PWDs, he said.
He explained that under the proposed Act, private corporations with more than 1,000 employees are likewise required to allot at least two percent of all positions for PWDS and one percent for those with less than 1,000 employees.
In return, private corporations and entities that employ PWDs who meet the required skills or qualifications as apprentices or learners “shall be entitled to an additional deduction, from their gross income, equivalent to 25 percent of the total amount paid as salaries and wages to PWDs,” Treñas noted.
The bill provides that “private entities that employ PWDs as regular employees shall be entitled to an additional deduction from their gross income, equivalent to 50% of the total amount paid as salaries and wages for the PWDs.”
The provision of free assistive technology services including designing, customizing, maintaining, repairing or replacing assistive technology devices to enhance the functional capacity of PWDs is also proposed under the measure.
“Once approved, the government will also provide free wheelchairs, walkers, canes and other aids for our PWDs whenever funds will allow. Malaking tulong din ito para sa ating mga PWDs,” Treñas said.
The additional privileges for PWDs proposed under the bill are monthly stipend amounting to P500 for marginalized PWDs to augment their daily subsistence, medical and other needs; exemption from passport processing fees, as well as travel taxes, terminal fees, other fees and charges levied on airports, ports, or other terminals by the government, any of its agencies or instrumentalities, or by government-owned or controlled corporations; and lifetime validity of PWD identification cards.
The bill mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to monitor compliance on the provisions of the proposed law and ensure that the privileges provided are not abused by its beneficiaries.