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Facilitated privilege

"Imagine the things you can do when you are well off and well connected."

That members of the same family in Quezon City were given six Persons With Disabilities identification cards is rather revolting, if disturbing, to say the least.

The discovery has emerged particularly at a difficult episode in the country's history while standing up to the crushing challenge of the coronavirus pandemic which forced many to be off their usual sources of income, mobility and whatever else.

Initial investigations by the city government have suggested that the ID cards are not supported by needed requirements, like application forms or other documents on record, and the release may have been “facilitated” by a city employee.

There have also been suggestions that the IDs themselves are fake, underscoring a spin that the releases happened in the predecessor administration.

Now. Hold that. It matters not when the releases were made. That the discovery was made in the present administration should be good enough a starting point, not to review the law as some have proposed, but to implement the sanctions against those who violated Republic Act 10754.

Under this law, registered PWDs are given a 20-percent discount and exemption to value-added tax to go with a 5-percent discount on basic necessities and prime commodities and free use of express lanes in commercial and government transactions.

It looks like the family members, to whom the PWD IDs were given, are well off and well connected.

We know that Quezon City officials, including legal officer Niño Casimiro, mean well and are keenly looking at the wayward footprints on the still-wet pavements. After all, he has said that “certain officials” in city hall had facilitated the release of the IDs to the family.

Can they not therefore summon members of the family to help shed light on the purported anomaly, ask them to identify those who released the same to them—of course they can opt to remain silent, which would speak a legal brief—and go into a deeper probe and audit at the city's Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office?

There are penalties under the existing law, and the penalties are good enough to teach violators of the law a good lesson to this rather disturbingly distasteful practice that demonstrates yet another profile of the corrupt and the corrupted which apparently has become an obnoxiously unnecessary thread in the country's culture.

Topics: Editorial , Persons With Disabilities identification cards , PWD , Republic Act 10754
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