Lapses in RA 10754 implementation
Paging the heads of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Department of Health, and the National Council on Disability Affairs.
I write with urgency and deep concern for persons with disabilities (PWDs) who are not yet enjoying the incentives, most especially the VAT exemption on their medicine purchases, granted by Republic Act No. 10754 (An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons With Disability) which was passed March 23 of last year, or almost a year ago. Despite the issuance of the
IRR (implementing rules and regulations) of this latest PWD law last Dec. 23, Mercury Drug refuses to extend the privilege, allegedly due to the absence of guidelines from the DOH on how to implement the same.
With due respect, it is my humble opinion that RA 10754 merely extends the VAT exemption applicable to senior citizens to PWDs. In other words, the requirements for PWDs to avail themselves of the VAT exemption would be no different from the existing guidelines governing the VAT exemption for senior citizens in their purchase of medicines and other goods:
- A doctor’s prescription describing the type and dose of medicines that the PWD must take.
- The PWD’s purchase booklet for medicines as well as his/her PWD ID.
Also, food supplements and vitamins are not covered by the 20-percent discount and 12-percent VAT exemption.
Hence, what is just needed is a DOH/NCDA circular stating that the present guidelines on the availment of discounts by senior citizens in their purchase of medicines will also apply to the PWDs in their purchase of medicines and related goods and services.
It must be noted that Watsons drugstores already implement the VAT exemption on PWDs’ medicine purchases.
So, may I appeal to the business establishments concerned and the heads of the concerned government agencies, to act now and apply the VAT exemption on PWDs’ purchases, as the law provides.
EMILIANO M. MANAHAN JR., PWD advocate, firstname.lastname@example.org
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