We, in PWD Philippines, are against the abuse of the PWD ID. We are one in the call of the congressman on this abuse which is effectively filching money from our hard-earned taxes and we are also one in the prosecution of the perpetrators who have the gall to steal the benefits of the very people that RA 10754 has intended to protect. It is abuse upon abuse for a community of people who want nothing but to be treated with respect and equality.
However, PWD Philippines is also calling for sobriety in the detection of such irregularities and due process for apprehended suspects. The PWD ID is not made out to have a uniform look across all cities and municipalities. It was only in 2017 that LGUs, through the creation of the PDAO or the persons with disabilities affairs office, are able to process and issue PWD Ids along with the accompanying booklets for medicines, groceries and other benefits like free movies and free medical procedures in some cities/municipalities. Thus every city/municipality have their PWD ID layout, logos and set of benefits, aside from that which has been mandated by RA 10754. Sometimes, PDAOs have a different interpretation of what should be a disability and what is not. For instance, HIV is considered a disability in some cities, which in some cities, PLHIV (persons living with HIV) are not considered as PWDs. The same is true with cancer survivors, chronic kidney disease, ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bi-polar disorder. Some get IDs, some are denied.
And it is because of the nature of disability, some are apparent while some are not, that PWD ID holders can be subject to ADDITIONAL DISCRIMINATIONwhich they do not need. While the statement of Congressman Yap might begin with good intentions, which we in PWD Philippines believes it to be and even strongly with, it may be good to err on the side of caution and be more discerning before immediately condemning an ID holder just because you do not see his disability.
Remember: lupus, epilepsy, bi-polar, extreme anxiety and depression, austism spectrum disorder, ADHD, organ replacement, cancer survivors, or even missing toes, are NON-APPARENT disabilities that need not be humiliated or subject to embarrassing questions, pat-downs and raising shirts, skirts, dropping pants or shoe removals in public just for them to get what is due to them, that 20% discount. THIS IS WHAT THE PWD ID IS FOR.
As for the integrity of the PWD ID, that is an oversight of the issuing agency and should not be held against the ID holder. In lieu of a public incident when claiming a PWD ID discount, may be suggest these measures:
- For restaurants, drug stores and grocers, who feel that the person using the ID is not deserving of the discount because the disability is non-apparent, you may take a picture of the ID as suggested by Congressman Yap. The ID should show you where it was issued and a quick phone call to the city or municipality should confirm its veracity. If it is fake, then please do report the ID to the city hall or the NCDA or the national council for disability affairs. They can take it from there as there are protocols in place to deal with such thieves. But until then, please do honor the ID, ask for a primary ID, take photos of both for later confirmation.
- The Dept of Health used to have a national database of all the PWD IDs they issued up to a certain year (https://pwd.doh.gov.ph/pwd_verificationlist.php). Maybe Congressman Yap can have some appropriations made available to update this list to include ALL IDs issued. This list is accessible to the public and can developed into an app to be used for IMMEDIATE VERIFICATION by establishments. We in PWD Philippines are volunteering to help in this endeavor in any way we can. This database can immediately put another barrier to the fakers of the ID. Before the DOH can add an ID, it will have to go through some kind of vetting process, which I’m sure is already in place, to ensure the integrity of the ID.
- Again, we are renewing our call for awareness and sensitivity for our brothers and sisters with disabilities. Disabilities are not relegated to amputated appendages, blind, deaf and those who are using a wheelchair. It is a lot more than that and the companies should also be made aware of the immense government incentives they can enjoy when they hire PWDs.
ACT-CIS partylist has become everyone’s champion and we in PWD Philippines also look to them as ours. We pray that our voice will be heard too and our suggestions be given some much needed attention. If the Duterte administration needs our services, we are at the beck and call of our nation’s esteemed leaders to help them look after the country’s PWD community.