Congress urged to submit PWD bill to MalacañangMarch 2, 2016
This is a repost from the Philippine Star, article by Paolo Romero published last Monday, February 29.
Groups of persons with disabilities yesterday appealed to the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately transmit to Malacañang the bill that exempts PWDs from the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services.
Manuel Agcaoili, president of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan Inc., and Emer Rojas, Cancer Alleviation Network on Care Education and Rehabilitation (Cancer) party-list nominee, made the appeal amid rumors that both chambers are sitting on the bill as President Aquino is not keen on signing the measure.
Authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the bill seeks to amend Section 32 of Republic Act 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability as amended by RA 9442.
The law grants 20 percent discount to PWDs on certain goods and services but the reduction is diluted since they are not exempt from VAT.
“Speaker (Feliciano) Belmonte and Senate President (Franklin) Drilon have signed the measure and this should have been transmitted to Malacañang. We would like to know once and for all if the President will sign or veto it,” Agcaoili said.
He claimed there are almost 10 million PWDs in the country but the Philippine Statistics Authority only pegged the number at less than 1.5 million.
The PWD measure will address the discrimination in this sector where they would be on equal footing with senior citizens who are also exempt from VAT on top of their 20 percent discount.
“PWDs belong to the most deprived and vulnerable sector. The VAT exemption shall mean a lot, especially to those buying medicines and getting medication. Diseases like cancer and heart disease entail so much medical cost. We need that,” Rojas said.