By Chito Chavez
The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) is set to issue a memorandum circular that will order all local government units (LGU) to enforce strict measures in the issuance of identification cards for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
“We’re planning to issue a memorandum circular to all local government units for them to be stricter in the issuance of PWD IDs to their constituents,” said DILG spokesperson Assistant Secretary Jonathan Malaya during an interview over CNN Philippines on Thursday, June 25.
The move was made following the discovery that non-PWDs have received the cards and are benefiting from these thru discounts in their purchases.
Earlier, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año exhorted local officials to be strict in issuing PWD cards and that this be given only to qualified beneficiaries.
“LGUs should, therefore, be wary of such individuals who want to secure a PWD ID even if they are not entitled to PWD privileges,” said Año.
Año stressed this practice should stop as business firms might go bankrupt with the proliferation of fake PWD beneficiaries.
The DILG chief reminded the LGUs to ensure that “the spirit and letter of Republic Act No. 10754, the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWD), and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) are adhered to and are not abused by unscrupulous persons who want to take advantage of the discounts.”
He asserted that the PWD IDs should only be issued to people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment, which may hinder their full, effective and equal participation in the society pursuant to the United Nations Convention.
Under RA No. 10754, PWDs are given 20 percent discounts; value-added tax (VAT) exemption; 5 percent discount on basic necessities and prime commodities; and free use of express lanes in commercial and government transactions.
Meanwhile, Malaya agreed with proposals made by Ang Probinsyano partylist Rep. Ronnie Ong to review the implementation of Republic Act 10754, the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of PWDs under the Magna Carta for PWDs.
“We support his call na kailangan talaga natin i-review (We support his call for the need for a review),” the spokesman said.
“The law is a bit extensive in terms of determining what is a person with disability. This really opens it up to interpretation and views,” Malaya said.
Under the law, PWD IDs can be issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (C/MSWDO) for persons with the following types of disabilities:
1. Psychosocial disability – includes bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and other long-term and recurring mental or behavioral issues
2. Disability resulting from a chronic illness – includes orthopedic disability due to cancer, blindness due to diabetes, and other disabilities due to chronic disease
3. Learning disability – includes processing problems that hinder learning math, reading, writing, and other basic skills
4. Visual disability – simple poor eyesight doesn’t automatically qualify a person for a PWD ID unless the visual impairment cannot be corrected
5. Orthopedic (Musculoskeletal) disability – includes people with dwarfism and amputated hands or feet. Individuals with scoliosis may also apply for an ID
6. Mental/Intellectual disability
7. Hearing disability
8. Speech impairment
9. Multiple disabilities