By Hannah L. Torregoza
Senator Manuel “Lito” Lapid is now pushing for a bill seeking to provide monthly social pension to persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are currently without any permanent source of income or regular monetary support.
In filing Senate Bill No. 1506, Lapid expressed belief this particular vulnerable sector should be given priority by the government in its social services program especially at a time the country is facing a global health crisis due to the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sa panahon na matindi ang pagsubok at kahirapan na pinagdaraanan ng publiko, wag sana natin kalimutan na mas higit na hirap ang dinaranas ng mga kapatid nating may kapansanan (During times of a deep crisis and poverty that the public is experiencing, let’s not forget that we have poor fellowmen who are suffering an impairment and are in dire need of help),” Lapid said in a statement.
“Kailangan nila ng tulong mula sa gubyerno at karapatan din nilang makatanggap ng ayuda para makabili ng mga pangangailangan nila, (They need the help of the government and they have the right to receive aid so they can afford to buy what they need),” he said.
The bill primarily seeks to give priority to the needs of vulnerable sectors such as PWDs who are suffering from restriction of different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical, or sensory impairment.
Under the measure, all indigent PWDs, as verified and certified by the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) shall be entitled to a monthly social pension amounting to P2,000.
An initial amount of P2-billion will be allocated for the first year of its operation and shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act (GAA).
“Malaking bagay na may dagdag tulong pinansyal ang ating gubyerno sa mga kapatid nating may kapansanan at walang regular na pinagkukunan ng kita. Inaasahan nating gagamitin ang ayudang ito para ipambili ng kanilang pagkain at gamot kada buwan (It’s a big deal if the government can provide additional financial aid to our PWDs who have no regular income. We hope to use this funds so they can buy their food and medicines in a monthly basis),” the senator pointed out.
“Sisiguraduhin din natin na maglalagay ng sapat na pondo ang Kongreso para mapatupad ng maayos at mabilis ang programang ito oras na maisabatas na ito (We also want to make sure that the funds Congress will allocate will be implemented and distributed efficiently once this is passed into law),” Lapid assured.
Under the bill, the DSWD and NCDA would be tasked to create a database of all indigent PWDs, which should be regularly updated to ensure a comprehensive and accurate information.
The issuance of an authentic PWD Identification card, pursuant to the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities (RA 7277), will be a prerequisite to qualify as a beneficiary under the proposed Act.
Any PWD, parent, relative or any degree of consanguinity, or any third person who will be found to be deliberately committing any fraudulent act of enrolling a PWD to the program when the said person is not an indigent; or when said PWD is already capable of supporting his/her own self as certified by the DSWD, would be fined not less than P25,000 but not exceeding P50,000 during the first violation.
For subsequent violations, a fine of not less than P50,000 but not exceeding P100,000 will be implemented.