December 23, 2016 is the first day of implemention for RA 10754, the new law expanding the government benefits of persons with disabilities (PWD). This means that all provisions of RA 9442, an update to the original RA 7277 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, are maintained PLUS the following benefits:
- Exemption from the 12% value-added taxes ON TOP of the mandatory 20% discounts. This amounts to a total of 32% discount on basic necessities that the PWDs buy for their personal use and enjoyment.
- The mandatory 32% discount for PWDs is now a must for transportation (including jeeps, buses, trains and airlines), recreation centers (amusement parks, cinemas and theaters) and similar places of culture.
- Medical and dental products and services.
- Burial and funeral assistance, provided that the beneficiary is able to provide the death certificate. Most services are covered by the discount, except for the obituary publication and the cost of the burial plot.
- Up to P25,000 in tax exemption for the caregiver of the PWD. There are computations and conditions for this benefit.
- Automatic PhilHealth coverage for the PWD. Although this is covered by a different law, RA 10606 of the National Health Insurance Act of 2013, I believe it is worth mentioning in this post that PWDs need not pay premiums to PhilHealth but can also avail of additional discounts and assistance when they purchase assistive devices, such as wheelchairs, hearing aids, prosthetics limbs and the like. Best to consult PhilHealth before buying your device to know the discounts you are entitled to for each device/purchase.
- The mandatory discounts also apply to medicines bought in all drugstores. YES, THAT MEANS YOU TOO MERCURY DRUG!
There have been questions about the “educational assistance” part of this law. The assistance can come from the Social Security System (SSS), the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) or PAG-IBIG. However, there are also certain conditions, such as the PWD must be a member of these organizations, must have updated contributions and that the assistance will not come in the form of cash but as either a voucher or a letter of guarantee. Other forms of educational assistance can also come from private institutions provided that the PWD is able to meet certain criteria.
It is good to know that more and more benefits are being given to the PWD community. We only wish that these benefits are given with the full cooperation of the business community, rightfully given without incident.
Interview with Cheryl Cosim at TV 5