PWDs to start enjoying VAT-free purchases, other benefits on Dec. 23, says social welfare dept.

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) can start enjoying the expanded benefits and privileges that they are entitled to under the law on Dec. 23, two days before Christmas, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) said Monday.

The Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act (RA) 10754, on expanding the benefits and privileges of PWDs, was signed last Dec. 1 by Social Welfare Secretary Judy Taguiwalo, Health Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo, and National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) director Carmen Zubiaga.

The law grants PWDs an exemption from value-added tax (VAT) on the purchase of certain goods and services from all establishments, subject to VAT for their exclusive use, enjoyment or availment.

This is on top of the 20 percent discount they are already entitled to under RA 9442, the act amending RA 7277 or the "Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, and for Other Purposes".

The act covers restaurants; recreation centers, such as theaters, movie houses, and concert halls; and lodging establishments; such as inns, motorists hotels, and dormitories. It also applies to the purchase of medicines and foods for special medical purposes; medical and dental services, including laboratory fees and professional fees of attending doctors; domestic air, sea, and land transportation travel; and funeral and burial services.

For this purpose, the law requires all establishments to place signages of the benefits and privileges of persons with disability within their premises so PWDs will know what they are entitled to. It also declares that subsequent purchases made by the PWDs on the same day from the same establishment are still subject to VAT-exemption and 20 percent discount.

Other salient features of the IRR include the reiteration of the rights of PWDs to social insurance (through the Government Service Insurance System, Social Security System, PAG-IBIG), educational assistance, special discounts in the purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities, and express lanes in all commercial and government establishments.

It also includes the provision of tax incentives for those caring for and living with PWDs up to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity.

Its unique features include the inclusion of certain vitamins, minerals and herbs in the definition of drug or medicine, so long as these are in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration's cut off, as well as foods for special medical purposes.

The benefits and privileges are also available to Filipinos who hold foreign passports but are registered as dual citizens and those who have re-acquired their Filipino citizenship through RA 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.

It is important to note, however, that double discounts are not allowed. This means that if a person with disability is a senior citizen, who is also entitled to a 20 percent discount under his/her valid senior citizen identification card (ID), the PWD shall use either his/her Senior Citizen ID or PWD ID card to avail of the 20 percent discount.

PWDs will need to present a proof of entitlement to enjoy their expanded benefits and privileges.

This may be an ID issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or the City/Municipal Social Welfare Development Office (C/MSWDO) of the place where the PWD resides, the passport of the concerned person with apparent disability, or an ID issued by the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).

RA 10754 ensures that PWDs enjoy the privileges of other vulnerable sectors, such as senior citizens, which shall enable them to live a fuller, more productive life.

Those with inquiries or complaints may call NCDA at 9516033 or 9522809.

Source: Philippines News Agency