Romualdez’s landmark PWD “Malasakit” Law to take effect soon
Republic Act No. 10754, now known as the PWD “Malasakit” Law based on House bill No. 1039 authored by Martin Romualdez (incumbent Congressman of the 1st District of Leyte), was signed into law by the Office of the President on March 23,2016, making it a red-letter day for persons with disabilities or PWDs. Said measure is designed to grant additional benefits in the form of discount PWDs are entitled to, they are now exempted from the 12% VAT on certain goods and services.
Among those included are services from recreation establishments (hotels, restaurants, lodging) and admission fees for leisure (theaters, concert halls, carnivals). The discount and VAT exemption are also applicable on purchases of medicine in drugstores; medical and dental services including diagnostic and laboratory fees, (X-rays, blood tests, CT scans), as well as doctors’ professional fees (subject to the guidelines of the Department of Health, in coordination with Philhealth); and funeral or burial services for the death of a PWD. PWDs will also be entitled to the same exemption in domestic air travel fares, sea travel fares, and local transportation fares (jeepneys, buses, shuttle services). The act also provides for educational assistance, including support in school materials and provision of grants, scholarships, or subsidies for PWDs.
To avail of these benefits, persons with disabilities need only apply for a PWD identification card, which will be issued by the Department of Social and Welfare Development (DSWD) from the municipality or barangay in which the applicant resides. The requirements for the issuance of a PWD ID are as follows: medical certificate or clinical abstract, barangay clearance, three 1 x 1 photos, one passport-sized photo, and a duly accomplished form.
The law, which will take effect fifteen days after publication in The Official Gazette or in two or more newspapers, seeks to provide PWDs with benefits that will improve their living conditions, as per the author of the bill himself, Congressman Martin Romualdez, who is vying for Senator this coming May elections. “It is my hope that with malasakit at the forefront of our lives, Filipinos will adopt a mindset that empowers the disabled. This grant of benefits for PWDs will go a long way in showing compassion towards their plight and improving their living conditions,” Romualdez said.
The lawmaker has previously revealed why he has a soft spot for persons with disabilities. Apart from having a close cousin with a disability, he spent some time volunteering at a special school at a very young age, where he immersed himself in the world of young handicapped children. His experience inspired him to write a book, To be Themselves, which was published when he was only sixteen. He has since vowed to do what he can to make the world a better, kinder place for those who have been afflicted with disabilities.
The signing of the bill into law was almost three years in the making. The lawmaker credits this victory to the resiliency and determination of the representatives of the PWD sector and other legislators who supported this measure. “I want to thank and acknowledge the efforts of my colleagues in the House and in the Senate in the passing of this bill. I also want to thank the President for heeding our call to finally sign into law the ‘Malasakit’ for PWD Bill despite it not being a priority bill,” said the senatorial hopeful.
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.