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Lawmaker bares PWD cards for sale racket

Edu Punay - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A party-list lawmaker yesterday bared a scheme involving the illegal sale and use of identification cards for persons with disability (PWDs) as he called for a legislative inquiry.

ACT-CIS party-list Rep. Eric Go Yap filed House Resolution 454 seeking an investigation on the alleged issuance of PWD cards to unqualified individuals who obtained them from supposed “fixers” by paying about P2,000 to P3,000 per card.

“There have been reports on individuals who fake their disability to get a PWD ID in order to enjoy PWD discounts and privileges and on fixers giving the guarantee of the issuance of PWD IDs to those interested,” read the resolution.

At a press conference, the lawmaker said he has proven that there are “illegitimate beneficiaries” of Republic Act 10754 (law expanding benefits of PWDs) who use PWD cards even if they are not qualified.

Yap, chair of the House committee on games and amusements, revealed that he discovered such modus last year when he ate at a restaurant in Manila and saw a family of six all using PWD and senior citizen cards.

He said he tapped members of his staff to try to secure PWD cards from local government units in Metro Manila through “fixers who are not in government” and they were able to get 15 cards.

Yap believed the cards were authentic because they were honored at establishments where his staff was able to get discounts and benefits for PWDs, but wondered how they were able to meet the requirements for issuance of the cards – including certification from doctors.

“So there is really a need to check on implementation of the law on PWD benefits because this is already being abused. We have to check with the LGUs how such IDs were issued to unqualified holders,” he stressed.

The lawmaker lamented that such scheme has been depriving the government of tax collections in the form of 32 percent discounts in purchases by fake PWDs.

Under RA 10754, PWDs are given a 20 percent discount and exemption to value-added tax plus a 5 percent discount on basic necessities and prime commodities. They can also use express lanes in all commercial and government transactions.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITY

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