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Support PWD law, Palace urged

LEYTE Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez  on Tuesday  urged Malacañang to certify as urgent a measure that seeks to promote the rights and welfare of the country’s persons with disabilities or PWDs.

Romualdez, who authored House Bill 1039, said it is about time President Benigno Aquino III proves that he cares for PWDs by signing the measure.

“I appeal to the national government to consider my proposal so that we can extend additional genuine assistance to PWDs. This is very important to help their plight,” Romualdez said.

Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez

Romualdez issued the statement as the President handed out awards to outstanding persons with disabilities and advocates for their welfare during the 2015 Apolinario Mabini Awards in Malacañang  Tuesday.

“We applaud the President’s recognition to the PWDs. We recognize the fact that he is giving awards to PWDs,” Romualdez said, adding that anything that will promote the welfare of disabled persons is a welcome development.

Romualdez’s bill seeks to exempt persons with disabilities from paying the value-added tax on certain goods and services. The bill was approved on third and final reading in December with an overwhelming 201 votes in the House.

Romualdez appealed to the senators to consider immediate action of his proposal to ensure the benefits of PWDs in the country.

If passed into law, Romualdez said his measure will benefit the country’s PWDs “who are in dire need of support from the government because of their condition in life.”

The measure was a substitute bill that included a related one filed by Pasay City Rep. Imelda Calixto-Rubiano.

Romualdez earlier welcomed the support from his fellow lawmakers for the smooth passage of the measure that had been deliberated thoroughly by the House committee on ways and means chaired by Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo.

HB 1039 seeks to amend Section 32 of Republic Act  No. 7277, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability,” as amended by RA 9442, by providing that PWDs shall be exempted from VAT in addition to the 20-percent discount they are already enjoying for the classes of goods and services.

Under the bill, which was co-authored by Abakada party-list Rep. Jonathan de la Cruz, the VAT exemption for PWDs would apply to medical and dental services; purchases of medicine in all drugstores; public railways, skyways and bus fare; 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, and recreation centers.

Calixto said her bill is in response to the universal challenge to protect the rights and the welfare of PWDs.

Romualdez said his proposal is an equalizing measure because this will accord PWDs exactly the same privilege enjoyed by senior citizens, who are exempted from the VAT by virtue of Republic Act No. 9994.

At the Palace, Aquino lamented the lack of knowledge that some youth exhibited when it came to Philippine history.

In a speech during the awarding ceremonies for the 2015 Apolinario Mabini Awards, Aquino referred to social media messages about how some students who watched the historical movie “Heneral Luna” did not realize that Apolinario Mabini was a paralytic and asked why he was seated all the time.

“I was really surprised when I heard about this,” Aquino said. “Even though only a few students said this, this is still a reflection of a lack of education about Philippine history,” Aquino said.

Aquino said he had not seen the film, which has been selected as the Philippines’ official entry to the Best Foreign Language Film category for the 2016 Oscar Awards.

Epy Quizon, the actor who played Mabini in the film, earlier shared his disappointment over questions as to why his character was always seated.

Mabini, called the Sublime Paralytic and The Brains of the Revolution, was afflicted with polio in 1895. He was a Filipino revolutionary leader, educator, lawyer, and statesman who served as the first prime minister of the Philippines, serving first under the Revolutionary Government, and then under the First Philippine Republic. With Sandy Araneta

Topics: Martin Romualdez , Congressman Martin Romualdez , Cong Martin Romualdez , Representative Martin Romualdez , Ferdinand Martin Romualdez , Tacloban , Leyte
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