MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Thursday directed local government units (LGU) to be stricter in the issuance of identification cards to persons with disabilities (PWD) following reports of unscrupulous individuals allegedly availing of discounts and other benefits intended for PWDs.
DILG Secretary Eduardo Año issued the order in support of the call of Congress to review the rules in PWD card issuance and to conduct a crackdown on the proliferation of fake PWD IDs.
“Maganda ang intensyon ng batas pero mayroong mga taong gustong abusuhin ang pribilehiyong ibinibigay sa mga tunay na PWDs. LGUs should, therefore, be wary of such individuals who want to secure a PWD ID even if they are not entitled to PWD privileges,” Año said in a statement.
“We fully support Congress in this issue if they wish to review the law or the IRR. Hindi dapat magpatuloy ang ganitong pamemeke at pag-aabuso sa paggamit ng PWD IDs dahil baka mabangkarote pa ang mga business establishments lalo na ngayong panahon ng COVID-19,” he added.
The DILG chief said that all LGUs must ensure that PWD IDs are only issued to people who have a long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairment which may hinder their full, effective, and equal participation to the society pursuant to the United Nations Convention.
Under Republic Act No. 10754 or the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability, PWDs are given 20% discounts; exemption to value-added tax (VAT); 5% discount on basic necessities and prime commodities; and free use of express lanes in commercial and government transactions.
Earlier, two lawmakers called for a review of the law’s implementation and a crackdown on those 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 people impersonating a PWD, while Rep. Eric Yap of ACT-CIS suggested putting up of one centralized system to store PWD information and data for easier verification.
The DILG Secretary also encouraged business establishments to report instances on the use of fake PWD IDs to the police and issuing LGU for proper action.
“Kung walang magrereport, hindi natin mapipigilan ang ganitong panggugulang. We, therefore, urge business establishments to come forward if they encounter PWD impersonators with IDs so that authorities can act accordingly,” he said.