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Año backs crackdown on fake PWDs

By Chito Chavez

The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday reminded local government units (LGUs) to issue the persons with disabilities (PWD) identification cards (ID) only to the qualified beneficiaries.

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año (NTF Against COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año
(NTF Against COVID-19 / MANILA BULLETIN)

DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the reminder at the heels of complaints that unqualified individuals were availing themselves of PWD discounts, the latest of which was the case of a family from Quezon City.

He expressed overwhelming support to the call of Congress for a crackdown on the proliferation of fake PWD IDs, stressing the LGUs should “be stricter in the issuance of identification cards to PWDs and ensure that such IDs are issued to legitimate PWDs only’’.

“LGUs should, therefore, be wary of such individuals who want to secure a PWD ID even if they are not entitled to PWD privileges,” said Año.

Año stressed this practice should stop as business firms might go bankrupt with the proliferation of fake PWD beneficiaries.

The DILG chief reminded the LGUs to ensure that “the spirit and letter of Republic Act No. 10754, the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWD), and its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) are adhered to and are not abused by unscrupulous who want to take advantage of the discounts.”

He asserted that the PWD IDs should only be issued to people who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment, which may hinder their full, effective and equal participation in the society pursuant to the United Nations Convention.

Under RA No. 10754, PWDs are given 20 percent discounts; value-added tax (VAT) exemption; 5 percent discount on basic necessities and prime commodities; and free use of express lanes in commercial and government transactions.

Earlier, two party-list representatives called for a review of the implementation of the PWD law and its IRR and a crackdown on fake PWDs who were able to obtain fake PWD IDs and enjoy discounts in restaurants and other privileges even without physical impairments.

Rep. Ronnie Ong of the Ang Probinsyano Party-list said “the law has very little safeguard against impersonating a PWD and there is not even a uniform specification on the proof of entitlement which makes it very easy for people to make fake PWD identification cards”

On the other hand, Rep. Eric Yap of ACT-CIS suggested the putting up one centralized system to store PWD information and data so verification would be easier.

Año asked the business establishments to report instances on the use of fake PWD IDs to the police and issuing LGU for proper action.

“We, therefore, urge business establishments to come forward if they encounter PWD impersonators with IDs so that authorities can act accordingly,” he added.

Under the law, PWD IDs can be issued by the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) or the City/Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (C/MSWDO) for persons with the following types of disabilities:

1. Psychosocial disability – includes bipolar disorder, depression, ADHD, schizophrenia, epilepsy, and other long-term and recurring mental or behavioral issues

2. Disability resulting from a chronic illness – includes orthopedic disability due to cancer, blindness due to diabetes, and other disabilities due to chronic disease

3. Learning disability – includes processing problems that hinder learning math, reading, writing, and other basic skills

4. Visual disability – simple poor eyesight doesn’t automatically qualify a person for a PWD ID unless the visual impairment cannot be corrected

5. Orthopedic (Musculoskeletal) disability – includes people with dwarfism and amputated hands or feet. Individuals with scoliosis may also apply for an ID

6. Mental/Intellectual disability

7. Hearing disability

8. Speech impairment

9. Multiple disabilities


Source: Manila Bulletin (https://news.mb.com.ph/2020/06/25/ano-backs-crackdown-on-fake-pwds/)

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