Benefits for PWDs-A A +A
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
ONE positive thing that I truly appreciate about our government is the fact that it supports Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) through its Republic Act 9422, known as AN ACT AMENDING REPUBLIC ACT NO. 7277, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS THE “MAGNA CARTA FOR DISABLED PERSONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES”. “Chapter 8. Other Privileges and incentives” enumerates the benefits accorded to PWDs and incentives to those who provided services and care for them. Its Section 32 is the most interesting part for me because it lists the 20% discounts that a PWD is entitled to, much similar to the privileges accorded to our beloved Senior Citizens.
Is it strictly implemented in the Philippines? Although this law was approved in 2007, it took more than a year of waiting for establishments to follow the implementing rules and regulations. I could remember the numerous times in the past when I always had to compute our bill at the restaurant to check if they gave discount for the portion of my son. At the start, the law was completely unknown to some establishments and they get surprised when presented with a PWD ID. I had to considerably spend some time to explain to cashiers about the Magna Carta for PWDs and in fortunate instances, my “case” had to be elevated to the managers and owners, just to enforce the right of my son for the discount.
Today, establishments such as restaurants, hotels, movie houses and other recreation centers automatically grant 20% discounts when presented with PWD IDs. Most establishments have configured their cash registers to compute 20 percent discounts for PWDs. Aside from recreational facilities, PWDs are also entitled to 20 percent discounts for the purchase of their medicines in all drugstores, as well as on medical and dental services, and even on laboratory fees. Of course, there is also 20 percent discount on fares for domestic air and sea travel, and in public railways, skyways and bus fare. The law even grants educational assistance to PWDs, provided they meet minimum admission requirements of public and private schools. And, they are also entitled to special discounts on purchase of basic commodities for themselves which is similar to the privilege of Senior Citizens.
For my son who is an avid moviegoer and is always happy with two servings of a favorite dish, the Magna Carta for PWDs is a big help in meeting our budget for recreation. My son also likes his hair short most of the time, and we are fortunate that his favorite barbershop offers 20 percent discount for PWDs and senior citizens.
How does one get a PWD ID? The law says it is the City Mayor or the Municipal Mayor, where the PWD resides, who issues PWD IDs. The application form includes a certification from a medical practitioner or the principal of the school who identifies the type of disability of the person. We got our PWD ID for our son from the City Social Services and Welfare Development Office (CSSDO) of Davao City.
I do encourage parents of children with special needs to obtain a PWD ID for their child. Aside from the 20 percent discounts on practically everything that our son enjoys doing, we also get non-monetary benefits from a PWD ID. Small things like getting priority during long queues for a movie or a ride or getting special front seats in a concert or a space in the parking lot do help in making the life of a PWD and their families a lot easier and more convenient.
Jane Ann S. Gonzales is a mother of a youth with autism. She is an advocate/core member of the Autism Society Philippines and Directress of the Independent Living Learning Centre (ILLC) Davao, a centre for teenagers and adults with special needs. For comments or questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 16, 2014.