Press Release
May 5, 2016

Recto twits gov't: Proc of new prexy might come ahead of rules
for new PWD law

Senator Ralph Recto today prodded the interagency body drafting the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) on the new law giving more benefits to Persons with Disabilities (PWD) to rush their work so that beneficiaries can now claim discounts from drug purchases and enjoy other discounts.

Recto warned government that "it will look bad if the proclamation by Congress of the new president will come ahead of the release of the IRR for Republic Act 10754," which grants a raft of benefits to PWDs and their caregivers.

"Baka naman meron nang bagong pangulo pero wala pang IRR ang RA 10654," Recto said.

He said the crafting of the IRR is important as it is seen by affected entities, like drug stores, as a requisite before they can carry out the provision of the law discounting purchases made by PWDs.

Although the law contains the provision " that failure of the concerned agencies to promulgate the (IRR) shall not prevent the implementation of this Act upon its effectivity," Recto said "for purposes of clear implementation , there is still no substitute for a set of written implementing rules."

"The automatic implementation clause kicks in only when there is deliberate move to deny or delay the release of the IRR. But I don't think that's happening. I am optimistic that the rules will soon be released," Recto said.

The law, signed by President Aquino last March 23, exempts PWDs from all sales taxes on certain goods and services, like transport fares, medicines, medical and dental services and laboratory fees.

It also grants a P25,000 annual income tax deduction to relatives within the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, who are caring for and living with a PWD.

Recto said his office has received reports, some coursed through social media, on the non-implementation of RA 10754, due to the absence of the IRR.

Another reason cited was the absence of a Memorandum Circular from the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) similar to the one issued by the latter on discounts granted to senior citizens.

Recto countered "there ought to be no delay because there is an existing template, the one granted to senior citizens, insofar as discounts on purchases are made."

The law, he explained, merely grants to PWDs benefits already enjoyed by seniors, "so we're not starting from scratch. There is a tried system already in place. From points of sale sa stores, may sistema na."

Nevertheless, Recto said the Cabinet official who will lead the writing of the IRR, Secretary Corazon "Dinky" Soliman of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), had already assured him such issuance will be "speedily crafted."

Recto said Secretary Soliman had assured in an email to his office that "the DSWD shall consult with concerned government agencies for the immediate crafting of the IRR of the law to ensure that PWDs will enjoy their latest privileges." "I am glad that Secretary Dinky has made that promise. I am looking forward to the express delivery of the IRR," Recto said. The new law tasks the DSWD, in consultation with the Department of Health (DOH), Department of Finance (DOF) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) to formulate the law's IRR. Recto also welcomed Soliman's assurance that "persons with psychological disabilities" and their "caregivers" will enjoy the benefits of the law.

One in 14 PWDs, or 133,407 out of the 1.88 million reported in the 2015 national census, suffers from mental disability. All of them will now be granted sales and tax discounts of up to 32 percent on selected goods and services as their caregivers can claim a tax credit of P25,000 per annum.

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