Ceremonial Signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of RA No. 10754
An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability
01 December 2016 / DSWD Central Office – New Lobby
Welcome Message of Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo
Good afternoon. I would like to welcome everyone in attendance to witness the ceremonial signing of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of Republic Act No. 10754 or An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability.
Foremost, I would like to acknowledge the authors of the law who served as advocates of the sector – Senator Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, Representative Ferdinand Martin Romualdez with his wife, Representative Yedda Marie Romualdez and Representative Emi Calixto-Rubiano as well as the representatives of persons with disability organizations. Sila ang tunay na bida dito at ang pagtitipon na ito ay para sa kanila.
I would also like to recognize the presence of Acting Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), Undersecretary Gerardo Bayugo of the Department of Health (DOH) and other members of the Drafting Committee. The formulation and finalization of the IRR will not be possible without their continuous support and cooperation.
Let me also thank our team from the Policy and Plans Group for helping put together the IRR as well as this ceremonial signing.
Allow me to briefly discuss why this law is significant to persons with disability and what the salient features of the IRR are.
As stated in the IRR, persons with disability are those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Data show that 15% of Filipinos (or 15 million of our 100 million citizens) are living with a disability. On a worldwide scale, 1 out of 7 persons experience disability. According to UNICEF, most persons with disability are found in the rural areas.
For the past months, the DSWD held several consultations with organizations of persons with disabilities and even conducted a PWD Summit last November 11, 2016. I had the opportunity to attend these events in my capacity as DSWD Secretary and personally heard their stories, their concerns, needs and aspirations. For this reason, we at the Department have taken to task ourselves in ensuring that the following salient features of the IRR reflect the spirit of the law as well as the stories and aspirations of our kababayans from sector:
- The grant of 20% discount and VAT-exemption on the purchase of certain goods and services from all establishments for the exclusive use, enjoyment or availment of persons with disabilities: Lodging Establishments, Restaurants, Recreation Centers, Purchase of Medicines and Foods for Special Medical Purposes, Medical and Dental Services, Diagnostic and Laboratory Fees and Professional Fees of Attending Doctors, Domestic Air and Sea Travel, Land Transportation Travel, Funeral and Burial Services for the Death of a Person with Disability
- The reiteration of the rights of persons with disabilities to educational assistance, social insurance (thru GSIS, SSS, PAG-IBIG), special discounts in the purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities and express lanes in all commercial and government establishments
- The provision of tax incentives for those caring for and living with persons with disabilities up to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity
The IRR also possess these unique features:
- Inclusion of vitamins and minerals in the definition of drug / medicine provided that these are in accordance with the Food and Drug Administration’s prevailing cut-off. For herbs, levels and amounts as well as registration status is required when indicated for therapeutic use.
- Inclusion of foods for special medical purposes which are intended for the exclusive or partial feeding of patients with limited or impaired capacity to take, digest, absorb or metabolize ordinary foodstuffs or certain nutrients contained therein, among others.
- Requiring all establishments and land transport groups to place signages within their premises and within public utility vehicles, shuttle services and public railways to inform persons with disability that they are entitled to the benefit/privilege.
- Making the benefits and privileges available to Filipinos who hold foreign passports but are registered as dual citizens and Filipinos who have re-acquired their Filipino citizenship thru Republic Act No. 9225 or the Citizenship Retention and Re-acquisition Act of 2003.
We have to recognize that the aforementioned benefits and privileges are reflective of the rights of persons with disabilities to be recognized, respected, and upheld as a means to promote equality in society.
Also equally important to point out is that these benefits and privileges are the result of the determined, sustained, and united campaign of PWD organizations, associations and groups to educate the public of their plight. They organize themselves, and initiate mass actions jointly with the other sectors of society that support their efforts. Our duty as public servants is mainly to enable them so they can build better lives for themselves and become productive citizens of society.
The official signing of this IRR is a development PWDs and the Filipino people should rejoice over. This is a step forward but should not be our end goal. This signing is just the start of more tasks for us public servants – to continue consulting with members of the PWD sector and their organizations and ensuring that the law and IRR are implemented. A stronger partnership between the public and private sector in realizing the goals set for them is also necessary because we in the government cannot do it alone
We have to ensure that the steps we undertake on their behalf actually respond to their needs and reflect their sentiments when it comes to policies all the time. In the process, we make them our partners in the crafting of laws that aim to serve their interest and the greater good. In the process we make them active members of society, arousing their great potential as catalyst for change. Let me quote a famous phrase of President Duterte- Gikan sa masa, para sa masa- From the people, to the people- let us all be active students of the masses.
On this note, let me share with you the result of the recently held National Summit of PWDs last November 11, 2016. The 10-Point Development Agenda was crafted by more than 400 differently-abled participants coming from all regions of the country. We have yet to further synthesize the PWD Summit but this can be used as a starting point for the bigger challenges ahead.
The Provisions of the 10-Point Development Agenda are:
- Ensure access to free, quality health services that respect the dignity of Persons with Disabilities including medicines, diagnostic examinations, treatment, rehabilitation and referral service.
- Providing PWDs with disability-friendly educational assistance so they can avail of formal and non-formal education.
- Creation of livelihood opportunities and jobs that provide PWDs with just compensation and humane work environment.
- Provision of gender-responsive government programs and services that allow PWDs to fully participate and become empowered.
- Providing PWDs with public facilities that safeguard their health and allow their safe mobility when it comes to accessing transportation, communications, recreation and other social services.
- Integrate the special needs of PWDs in crafting and implementing disaster-preparedness plan of actions.
- Engage the active participation of Civil Society Organizations of PWDs as an important sector in community development and poverty alleviation programs of the government.
- Strict enforcement of existing policies and laws that support the welfare of PWDs such as RA10524 and Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities; and, continuous enactment of Persons with Disabilities’ responsive policies.
- Allocate regular budget and ensure sustainable provision of social protection for PWDs.
- Implement the reliable profiling of PWDs to include persons with chronic illness.
Again I would like to thank everyone here today. Dito sa DSWD an aming layunin ay ang ipagpatuloy ang maagap at mapagkalingang serbisyo sa mamamayan, tapat na paglilingkod na walang puwang para sa katiwalian, patas na pagtrato sa mga komunidad, pag-ugnay sa bawat sector ng lipunan, at pagtulong sa mga apektadong ng armadong tunggalian.
Mabuhay kayong lahat at muli, paglingkuran natin ang sambayanan! ###