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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Magsino files bill on PWD allowance

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A party-list lawmaker has filed a bill providing disability allowance for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Rep. Marissa Magsino, in House Bill 9828, sought to establish the Disability Support Fund to be administered by the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) to support the undertaking of the Disability Support Allowance Program under the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).

The bill, known as “ the Disability Support Fund Act” aims to provide a disability support allowance of P 2,000.00 per month per eligible beneficiary, based on the criteria to be formulated by DSWD. 

The allowance will be indexed to inflation to preserve its positive impact on the standards of living and participation of people with disabilities.

In combination with social protection programs and discounts, the bill provides that PWDs are already entitled to under existing laws, the support allowance aims to address the higher costs of transportation, housing, nutrition, hygiene and temporary human assistance requirements, and other disability-related costs, as well as provide a basic income security for qualified PWDs

“Persons with disabilities  are confronted with various challenges and barriers, which include limited mobility, stigma, discrimination, unequal access to education and employment opportunities, health and other social and public services, and incur extra expenses for assistive devices and personal assistance.  Some of them are trapped in poverty and do not enjoy a quality standard of living,” Magsino said.

“Their situation is further aggravated by the minimal institutional support and token inclusive policies of government at the national level, and insufficient funding for program implementation at the local level,” she added.

The proposed measure covers all persons with disabilities certified under the Disability Assessment and Determination System, prioritizing children and adults with significant disabilities facing high barriers and costs. The ultimate goal is to extend coverage to all registered persons with disabilities, regardless of income levels, addressing disability-related extra costs that impact their standard of living.

Magsino said the program is envisioned to be implemented in gradation.

Under the bill, the initial phase of the Disability Support Allowance Program, to be implemented in the first three (3) years, shall prioritize provision of stipends for children with disabilities, adults with moderate and severe disability who are facing the highest barriers and disability-related costs, and persons with disabilities who are recipients of social protection and economic empowerment programs such as but not limited to the Pantawid Pamilya Pilipino Program (4Ps) and Social Pension for Indigent Senior Citizens.

The second phase of the Program, the bill added, shall be implemented in the next three (3) years, shall include all registered persons with disabilities, who have either no income or have low levels of income, and persons with disabilities who face disability-related extra costs which negatively affect adequate standard of living.

Meanwhile, the third phase, to be realized in six (6) years after the start of the Program’s implementation, shall endeavor to progressively cover all persons with disabilities.

To enhance the implementation of disability-focused social protection, Magsino said  Disability Data Management System shall be established to enhance the implementation of disability-focused social protection, connected to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s Community-Based Monitoring System (CBMS).

“This linkage aims to assist in creating poverty-reduction programs at various levels. Additionally, real-time disability data will be synchronized with the National ID System, the Department of Health’s Persons with Disability Registry (aligned with the PhilHealth Database System), ensuring comprehensive and up-to-date information,” she said.

“I hope my colleagues in the House of Representatives will support this measure and the provision of monthly disability support allowance  to enable our PWDs and their families to access support services and provide them with productive opportunities to become contributing members of society,” Magsino pointed out.

Senators Manuel Lapid and Ramon  Revilla, Jr. have filed the counterpart measure at the Senate.

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