By Chito Chavez
Reports about persons with disabilities (PWD) identification cards (ID) being charged with fees issued locally has prompted Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte on Saturday to issue a stern warning that the stiffest possible punishment will be meted against unscrupulous groups committing this blatant irregularity.
“We encourage our PWDs to report to Hotline 122 if they are charged for an ID card or if they are approached by individuals not connected with the local government so we can take appropriate action,” said Belmonte.
She reiterated that PWD cards “being issued by the local government is free of charge’’.
Belmonte issued the clarification to debunk online reports that the local government is charging PWDs for ID cards.
“Taliwas sa kumakalat na black propaganda sa social media, hindi kailangang magbayad ng PWDs para makakuha ng ID (This is contrary to spreading black propaganda in social media. Thre is no need for the PWD to pay fees to secure their ID),” said Belmonte.
Expressing deep frustration, Belmonte stressed “the online black propaganda is meant to undermine her initiative to cleanse the list of 70,000 local PWDs who enjoy the benefits provided under Republic Act No. 10754 or the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWD)’’.
“Maraming tinatamaan sa ginagawa nating paglilinis sa listahan dahil maraming nakakuha ng PWD ID na hindi naman talaga PWD at marami ring nagkalat na pekeng ID,” Belmonte pointed out (A lot were visibly affected by our move to cleanse the list since there are a lot of individuals who got PWD cards even if they are not really members of the PWD),’’ she added.
Belmonte insisted that her insistence to enforce internal cleansing to rid the locality with scalawags has unfairly accused her of politicking the process with the additional requirements being asked by the PWD office in the city.
Vividly stressing a point, Belmonte clarified that requiring additional documents is part of the local government’s tightened renewal process to ensure that only deserving PWDs enjoy the benefits provided by RA No. 10754.
Belying claims of her detractors, Belmonte said the process of imposing strict renewal is being done to ensure that only legitimate beneficiaries are accorded with the privilege which the abusive groups has obviously detested.
In addition, Renato Cada, officer-in-charge (OIC) of Quezon City’s Persons With Disability Affairs Office (PDAO), said that the strict renewal process will help them get rid of fake PWD IDs.
Ceda welcomed Belmonte’s move citing that his office had unearthed fake PWD ID whenever they secure their PWD booklets at city hall.
“Ito ang nais nating mawala dahil maraming nakikinabang na hindi dapat (This is what we are trying to remove),” said Cada.
Belmonte reminded the city’s PWDs “not to transact outside PDAO because it is the only office authorized to issue their IDs’’.