Filipinos with disabilities can breathe a sigh of relief following the signing of Republic Act 10754, which now allows them to fully enjoy their mandated discounts.
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Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country can breathe a little more easily after having won a major victory.
This is following Malacañang's announcement on Tuesday night, March 29, thatPresident Benigno Aquino III has signed Republic Act 10754 into law, exempting PWDs from value added tax (VAT) payment.
Aquino signed RA 10754 on March 23, according to Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr.
RA 10754 amends the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons to allow the exemption. The principal authors of the House and Senate versions of the bill are Leyte Representative Martin Romualdez and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.
Prior to the RA 10754, PWDs are entitled to a 20%-discount on expenses such as medical services and transportation, and a 5%-discount on basic necessities and prime commodities. (READ: FAST FACTS: What persons with disabiities are entitled to)
PWDs, however, had to pay the 12%-VAT.
Consider a PWD buying an item worth P100. If it falls into the 20% discount bracket, the PWD will pay only P80, but non-exemption from VAT means the PWD will pay P12 more. The resulting price is P92, which really means a PWD was getting just an 8% discount.
If the item falls under the 5% discount bracket, paying VAT cancels out the discount and the PWD will still have to pay more than the product’s selling price.
Every centavo counts
This would not be a problem if an average PWD can earn enough to shoulder the added expenses. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
Only half the country’s urban PWDs are employed; it is less than that in rural areas. Even with jobs, most PWDs still find themselves earning below the poverty line: 59.4% of urban PWDs are poor and 61.9% of rural PWDs are classified as poor.
Now, imagine a PWD's regular expenses.
Ramon Apilado, the public relations officer for Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, explained the difficulties PWDs face when budgeting their expenses.
"Madaming needs ang may kapansanan. So kung ikaw ay may kapansanan, nandiyan na nag-gagamot ka rin. Nandiyan na gumagastos ka sa iyong catheter kung ikaw ay may spinal cord injury. Nandiyan yung naka-physical therapy ka rin. Yung maintenance na gamot mo kasi kapag kasama ng pagkakaroon ng may kapansanan yung pagkakaroon ng maraming sakit," Apilado explained
(PWDs have many needs. So if you have a disability, you have medical services. You have to spend on a catheter if you have a spinal cord injury. You have physical therapy too. You have your maintenance medication because part of being a PWD is having a lot of illnesses.)
This does not count special medication like muscle relaxants for people with cerebral palsy, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Every centavo counts for PWDs, and with the VAT exemption law, PWDs can even start saving. – Rappler.com
Photo of handicapped parking sign from Shutterstock