Press Release
August 5, 2015


To give reprieve to the plight of persons with disabilities (PWDs), Senator Sonny Angara is pushing for the passage of a bill that seeks to exempt persons with disabilities from the 12-percent value added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services.

The Senate ways and means committee on Wednesday reported out Senate Bill 2890, a consolidated version of House Bill 1039 principally authored by Rep. Ferdinand Romualdez and similar bills authored by Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto and Senator Bam Aquino, which seeks to expand the benefits and privileges of PWDs under Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

"Tunay na nararapat lamang na bigyan ng ibayong atensiyon at tulong ng ating gobyerno ang mga kababayan nating may kapansanan. Ang mga tulong na ito hindi lamang sa pamamagitan ng direktang tulong pinansyal kung hindi pati na rin sa pagpasa ng mga panukalang batas na naglalayong mapagaan ang kanilang buhay," said Angara in his sponsorship speech.

Based on the 2010 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority, there were over 1.4 million Filipino PWDs or 1.57 percent of the country's population.

Under RA 7277, disabled persons are those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.

If this bill is passed into law, it will align the PWD law with that of the Expanded Senior Citizens Act which provides a VAT exemption on top of their 20-percent discount on particular goods and services.

Specifically, PWDs will be exempted from the VAT on land transportation, domestic air and sea travels; on fees and charges for medical and dental services including diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees of attending doctors in all government facilities as well as in all private hospitals and medical facilities; on cost of medicines; on fees and charges in hotels, restaurants and recreation centers; and, on admission fees in theatres, cinema houses, concert halls, and other similar places of culture, leisure and amusement.

Aside from the VAT exemption, SB 2890 also aims to ensure that PWDs will be considered as a dependent of a taxpayer under the Tax Code provided that the PWD is not gainfully employed and is chiefly dependent and living with the taxpayer so that the taxpayer can claim additional personal exemption.

The Department of Finance pegged the estimated foregone revenue at P1.1 billion but the ways and means chairman argued that the actual foregone revenue may be lower considering the number of registered PWDs with IDs.

Based on the 2014 data from the Philippine Registry for Persons with Disability of the Department of Health, there are only 28,344 registered PWDs with IDs or a mere 2 percent of the total PWD population due to lack of necessary logistics of issuing offices such as the city and municipal social welfare development.

A Philippine Institute for Development Studies 2008 and 2010 survey showed that PWDs have very low participation in discount privileges mandated by the Magna Carta for PWDs mainly because they are not aware of any policy that supports them and because they do not have the required PWD ID.

"Be that as it may, the benefits that will be derived by our PWDs and their families from this measure far outweigh the supposed revenue loss to the government," the senator said.

Angara is also set to file a resolution to look into the state of compliance and implementation of laws empowering PWDs to identify the gaps and the necessary measures that can be taken to ensure that they are provided with opportunities that will enable them to develop their potential and become fully participative members of society.

He further urged all agencies to intensify their information dissemination campaign, and to streamline the process for the application of the PWD ID.

"Huwag nating maliitin ang natatanging potensiyal ng ating mga kababayang PWDs. Tunay na marami sa mga Pilipinong may kapansanan ang nagtagumpay sa iba't ibang larangan gaya ng negosyo, edukasyon, pulitika, at sports. Hindi naging hadlang ang kapansanan sa kanilang pagsisikap na makamit ang minimithing pangarap," Angara said.

"Truly, they have the capacity to become productive citizens of the nation if only we give them the necessary assistance and encouragement. Isang paraan lamang po ito para tulungan silang makatawid at makaakyat sa kanilang buhay. Nais lamang po natin siguraduhin na hindi po sila nag-iisa sa pagpasan sa kanilang kapansanan," he added.

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