Malasakit for persons with disabilities hailed

January 12, 2019
Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez
Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez

LEYTE Rep. Yedda Marie Kittilstvedt-Romualdez has lauded the House of Representatives’ ratification of the bicameral conference committee report of a proposed law seeking to grant mandatory Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) to all persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Romualdez, first nominee of Tingog Sinirangan party-list who co-authored House Bill (HB) No. 8014 principally filed by Nueva Ecija  Rep. Micaela S. Violago, said the measure will extend “malasakit”  (compassion) to PWDs who badly need help and assistance from the government.

“We thank our colleagues for ratifying the measure seeking mandatory  PhilHealth coverage for all registered PWDs. This is another  assistance that would directly help alleviate their conditions,” said

Romualdez, who chairs the House committee on accounts and vice  chairperson of the House committee on government enterprises and  privatization.

Senate Bill (SB) No. 1391 or the counterpart measure is principally authored by Sen. Loren Legarda.

The House conferees were Rep. Sandra Eriguel, M. D. (2nd District, La  Union) as Chairperson and Reps. Violago and Alfredo Garbin, Jr.  (Party-list, AKO Bicol).

The Senate conferees were Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito as Chairperson,  and Senators Sonny Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Cynthia Villar, and  Risa Hontiveros.

Premium contributions for all PWDs shall be paid by the national  government and the premium contributions of PWD members in the formal  economy shall be shared equally by their employers and the national government.

Moreover, the funds necessary for the effective implementation of the  Act shall be sourced from the National Health Insurance Fund of  PhilHealth earmarked from the proceeds of Republic Act No. 10351,  otherwise known as “An Act Restructuring the Excise Tax on Alcohol and Tobacco Products by amending Sections 141, 142, 143, 144, 145, 8, 131,  and 288 of Republic Act No. 8424, otherwise known as the National  Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended by RA No. 9334, and for  other purposes” in accordance with pertinent laws and regulations.

Romualdez expressed hoped the measure will be signed into law soon like Republic Act (RA) No. 10645 which provides mandatory PhilHealth coverage to all senior citizens.

The proposal will amend RA No. 7277, as amended by RA No. 9442, otherwise known as the Magna Carta or Disabled Persons.

Romualdez recalled the compassionate RA No. 10754 or An Act Expanding  the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability that exempts  PWDs from 12-percent value added tax (VAT) payment that her husband,  Philippine Constitution Association (Philconsa) President Martin Romualdez, a congressional candidate in the first district of Leyte, principally authored.

Martin’s “malasakit” or compassionate law exempts more than 1.5  million PWDs from the payment of VAT on certain goods and services.

The law that stemmed from Martin’s HB (HB) No. 1039 which  amends RA No. 7277, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Persons  with Disability”, exempts PWDs from the 12-percent VAT, as amended by  RA No. 9442, which gave the PWDs the 20-percent discount.

“This is an equalizing measure because this will accord PWDs  exactly the same privilege enjoyed by senior citizens who are exempted  from the VAT,” said Martin, a former House Independent Bloc leader and  a three-term Leyte congressman.

Like senior citizens, PWDs are now eligible for a 20-percent  discount on medical and dental services; purchase of medicines in all  drugstores; public railway, skyway and bus fares; admission fees  charged by theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, circuses, carnivals  and other places of culture, leisure and amusement; and all services  in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, recreation  centers, funeral and burial expenses. The Romualdez law on PWD also gives the relatives, up to the  fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, taking care of  handicapped to claim a tax deduction of P25,000 in their income tax.