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05 - 24

Divorce is not honored nor practiced in the Philippines.  The only option for Filipino couples to legally separate and regain their freedom to marry another person is to get their marriage annulled.  Annulment processes are long and expensive, often ugly and traumatic especially when children are involved.  Unlike divorce where the couple need only to agree to end a legally valid marriage, annulment proceeding is done to prove that the marriage never existed at all.  And to do that, the reasons for filing an annulment case must be compelling enough to destroy the integrity of the erring couple’s union.

Something, or someone’s, gotta give.

There are two types of annulment in the Philippines:

  1. Declaration of Nullity of Marriage where the marriage is believed to be null and void from the beginning, and
  2. Annulment of Marriage is filed for valid marriages (marriage is considered valid until voided).

In case you are thinking of filing an annulment, or are just plain curious how such cases are built, this article is for you.

Valid grounds for declaration of absolute nullity of marriage, pursuant to the Family Code of the Philippines:

  1. Either party is below 18 years of age, even with the consent of parents or guardians.
  2. Marriage was solemnized by a person not legally authorized to perform marriages, unless it was contracted with either or both parties believing in good faith that the solemnizing officer had the legal authority ot do so.
  3. Marriage was solemnized without license, except those allowed under the law.
  4. Bigamous or polygamous marriages not falling under Article 41.
  5. Marriage was contracted through mistake of one contracting party as to the identity of the other.
  6. Subsequent marriages that are void under Article 53.
  7. Either party was psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations of marriage at the time of the celebration of the marriage.
  8. Incestuous marriages.
  9. Marriages which are void from the beginning for reasons of public policy.

Grounds for filing a petition for annulment of marriage:

  1. Either party was 18 years of age or over but below twenty-one, and the marriage was solemnized without the consent of parents, guardian, or person having substitute parental authority over the party, in that order, unless after attaining the age of twenty-one, he/she freely cohabited with the other party;
  2. Either party was of unsound mind, unless such party after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
  3. Consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless such party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other;
  4. The consent of either party was obtained by force, intimidation or undue influence, unless the same having disappeared or ceased, such party thereafter freely cohabited with the other;
  5. Either party was physically incapable of consummating the marriage with the other, and such incapacity continues and appears to be incurable; or
  6. Either party was afflicted with a sexually-transmissible disease found to be serious and appears to be incurable.

Other important reminders when filing a petition for annulment:

  • You may only file a petition to nullify or annul your marriage if any of the above-mentioned grounds actually exist in your marriage.
  • Being separated from your husband or wife is not grounds for annulment, not even if you have ceased communicating with each other for considerable length of time.
  • Infidelity is not grounds for annulment in the Philippines.
  • The petition must be filed before the Regional Trial Court where the petitioner or the respondent resides.
  • Upon granting of annulment petition, the absolute community of property or conjugal partnership established between the spouses during the marriage shall be dissolved and liquidated.
  • Any property acquired by either party after the annulment has been granted shall be an individual property of the party who purchased it.
  • And lastly, the entire annulment procedure is not only physically, emotionally, and psychologically taxing, it can also place a dent in your finances.

We hope you found these information helpful.  You can shoot us your questions about marriages and separations and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Sources:

http://www.gov.ph

http://www.manilatimes.net

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05 - 23

Brenda, a Pinay tourist in the US, married her cousin’s friend Doug, a US citizen, while on vacation in Florida.  A few months after the wedding, the couple traveled back to the Philippines to break the news to Brenda’s parents.  Sadly though, her parents vehemently opposed their daughter’s rash decision to marry a person they hardly know.  Because of the sad turn of events, Doug traveled back to the US on his own, leaving Brenda to deal with her family’s shock and disapproval.

Brenda and Doug never got the chance to see each other again.  Soon enough, the incessant email exchanges and nightly phone calls between the newlyweds slowly dwindled to brief text messages and unreturned missed calls.  Before long, Brenda met a new guy at work and quickly fell in love.  This time, she knew he was “the one”.  She introduced him to her parents who immediately approved of their budding romance.  Less than a year later, she was, again, busy planning her wedding.

“Di ba kasal ka na sa U.S.?” asked one of Brenda’s aunts.

“Oo, pero hindi naman niya pinarehistro dito sa Pilipinas yung kasal niya. So single pa din siya dito.” came Brenda’s Mom’s firm reply.

Could this be true?  Can one simply disregard a marriage solemnized in another country by not declaring it before a Local Civil Registry office?  Can you be married in one country and single in another?

We received this same question from an avid reader and thought it wise to find out if overseas marriages are not considered valid in our country.  Below are our findings:

Lex Loci Celebrationis

This is the rule we follow for marriages celebrated abroad between two Filipinos or a Filipino and a person of different citizenship.  The Latin phrase translates to “law of the place of the ceremony”.

This means that the Philippines recognizes a marriage celebrated or solemnized in a different country as long as it follows the requirements set by the law of that state.  Hence, if the marriage is deemed valid in that country, it is then deemed valid in the Philippines, even if it did not comply with the procedures and requirements set the Family Code of the Philippines.

Exceptions to the Rule           

Article 26 of the Family Code excludes the following prohibited marriages:

  1. Cases where a party is below eighteen years old at the time of marriage;
  2. A party is psychologically incapacitated to comply with the essential marital obligations;
  3. Mistake in identity of a spouse;
  4. Subsequent marriages celebrated without properly terminating, liquidating, and distributing the properties of a previous marriage;
  5. Bigamous or polygamous marriages;
  6. Incestuous marriages;
  7. Void marriages for reason of public policy such as marriage between collateral blood relatives up to fourth civil degree or between step-parent and step-child.

If the marriage abroad does not fall under any of the above-mentioned exceptions, then it is considered valid in the Philippines.

But the marriage was not registered in the Philippines

The marriage’s validity is not at all affected by the fact that it was not properly registered in the Philippines.  For as long as it is considered valid in the country where it was celebrated, the marriage is deemed valid in the Philippines as well.  Registering a marriage is done to simply record an event affecting the civil status of the persons involved; it serves as evidence of the act or occurrence.  Its absence does not invalidate the marriage.

Can Brenda continue with her plans of marrying her Filipino boyfriend?

If we are to apply the principles of Lex Loci Celebrationis, Brenda is no longer free to marry another person, in the US or here in the Philippines.  And the only way she can regain her single status and be able to marry another person is if Doug, being the US citizen, files for divorce abroad.

We hope you found these information helpful.  If you have questions about civil registration in the Philippines, please feel free to drop us a line and we will do our best to find the answers for you.

Source:

www.gov.ph (The Family Code of the Philippines)

http://www.manilatimes.net

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05 - 19

The President has signed Executive Order No. 26, banning smokers from puffing toxic tobacco fumes in public and enclosed places.

Below is a summary of EO No. 26 entitled: “Providing for the establishment of smoke-free environments in public and enclosed spaces,”

  1. Enclosed and public spaces include public transportation, whether in motion or stopped at a traffic light or on a roadside.
  2. Establishments must assign a Designated Smoking Area (DSA) following the standards provided in the EO.  DSAs may be an open space or a separate area with proper ventilation.
  3. DSAs in an enclosed space must not have an opening where cigarette-smoke-contaminated air may escape into smoke-free areas of the enclosure (buildings, rooms, public transportation), save for a “single door with an automatic door closer”.
  4. Only one DSA is allowed per building and transportation and must have a clear signage identifying that area as a smoking area.
  5. DSAs must have a non-smoking buffer zone, the combined area of both must not be larger than 20% of the total floor area of the building or transportation.
  6. Minors are not allowed to enter DSAs and its buffer zone.
  7. The following are not allowed to have a DSA at all:
    • Centers of youth activity such as playschools, preparatory schools, elementary schools, high schools, colleges and universities, youth hostels, and recreational facilities for minors.
    • Elevators and stairwells.
    • Locations where fire hazards are present.
    • Premises of private and public hospitals, as well as medical, dental, and optical clinics.
    • Food preparation areas.
  8. Persons-in-charge such as mangers or presidents of establishments, building administrators are prohibited from tolerating smoking public places surrounding their buildings and places of assignment.
  9. Sale, distribution, purchase of tobacco products to and from minors are prohibited.
  10. Tobacco advertisements and promotional materials (kiosks, special offer booths, etc.) are prohibited within 100 meters from the perimeter of a school, public playground, and other facilities where minors often converge or stay.
  11. Violators of provisions on providing tobacco products to minors may be fined Php 5,000, imprisoned of up to 30 days, or revocation of business licenses and permits.
  12. Violators of the rules for smoking in public places may be fined Php 500 up to Php 10,000.

The EO will be enforced 60 days after ongoing publication in broadsheets nationwide.

Sources:

www.cnnphilippines.com

www.rappler.com

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05 - 18

The announcement that the Anti-distracted Driving Act will finally be enforced this week (today actually!) was met with a lot of questions from drivers, especially those that use navigation apps and other gadgets such as dash cameras.  If you read our previous article on this topic or have seen the news articles in the internet, you already have an idea of the exorbitant fees that will be charged anyone caught violating the law.  Quite obviously, the clamor for answers and clarifications was driven by the rather shocking fees you will have to pay if you so much as looked at your beeping phone while sitting behind the wheel.

We ran a research to find out what the Land Transportation Office (LTO) has to say about these questions.  We hope the following details gathered from the internet will help clear things out and set every driver’s mind at ease.

1.On the use of navigation apps installed on smartphones.

Question: Does this mean I could no longer use navigation apps while driving?

Answer: According to the LTO, drivers are still allowed to use these smartphone-based apps provided:

  • The driver sets the app BEFORE driving.
  • Uses a speaker to listen to the directions instead of looking at the smartphone screen.
  • Pulls over if he needs to reset his destination.

2. On the use of a mobile phone mount.

Question: Are mobile phone mounts included in the prohibitions?

Answer: No, for as long as the phone and the mount do not obstruct the driver’s view.

3. On the use of dash cameras.

Question: Should I now get rid of my dashcam?

Answer: Dashcams are allowed.  Just place it behind the rearview mirror so that, again, it does not obstruct the driver’s line of sight.

4. On the use of earphones while driving.

Question: Earphones are hands-free devices, am I allowed to use this while driving?

Answer: Yes but only to make or receive calls.  You should not use it to listen to music while on the road.

5. On heavily tinted cars whose drivers think they can “get away with it”.

Question: How will they know I’m using my mobile, they can’t see me!

Answer: This just in: The Department of Transportation now uses high-definition cameras that can detect light coming from devices inside heavily tinted cars.  Plus, enforcers are well-trained to distinguish if a driver is distracted by merely observing the car’s movement.

The law covers public and private vehicles, including bicycles, motorcycles, motorcycle taxis, “kalesas” or any other animal-driven wagons or carts.  Yes, no one is exempted, not even vehicles owned by the government.  According to the LTO Chief, violators can raise their contentions during the hearing at the LTO.  That simply means that enforcers will not let erring drivers slide and skedaddle without a violation ticket, no questions asked.

There you have it!  If you have other questions, feel free to post it here and we’ll try our best to dig deeper and find the answers for you.

Have a safe trip!

Reference: www.cnnphilippines.com

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05 - 16 (1)

In August of last year, we featured the details of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act and got various reactions from our readers.  Less than a year later, it will finally be enforced in all areas in the Philippines!

On Thursday, May 18, 2017, private and public utility drivers will no longer be allowed to use mobile devices behind the wheel, whether they are on the move or on full stop while waiting for traffic lights to change.

To refresh our memories, below are the salient points of the Anti-Distracted Driving Act and the penalties that await those who will insist on their exceptional multi-tasking abilities.

What is “Distracted Driving”?

In the bill, it is defined as:

  • “using a mobile communications device to write, send, or read text-based communication or to make or receive calls, and other similar acts.”
  • “an electronic entertainment or computing device to play games, watch movies, surf the internet, compose messages, read e-books, perform calculations, and other similar acts.”

Exemptions:

  • You may use the mentioned mobile devices as long as it does not interfere with your line of sight.
  • You may make and receive calls as long as you do so using hands-free functions such as speakerphones and earphones.
  • You may use the device to make an emergency call.
  • Drivers of ambulances, fire trucks, and the like may use their mobile phones for as long as this is done in the scope of their duties and when responding to emergencies.

What are the fines and penalties if a driver violates the law?

  1. First offense – Php 5,000
  2. Second offense – Php 10,000
  3. Third offense – Php 15,000 and a 3-month suspension of your driver’s license
  4. Fourth offense –Php 20,000 and revocation of your driver’s license

MMDA and PNP are empowered to apprehend violators, whether private or public vehicles, including government and diplomatic vehicles, motorcycles, and tricycles.

References:

www.gov.ph

http://www.topgear.com.ph

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05 - 15

Aling Nelia is a housewife and a mother of five children.  On her 57th birthday, her kids pooled their resources and surprised her with a round-trip ticket to Hong Kong as it has always been her ardent dream to see the place.

She began working on the required documents while waiting for her passport application appointment at the DFA.  However, when she got hold of her PSA birth certificate, she realized that her name is misspelled on the document.  Her real name, and the name that she has used all her life, is Cornelia Pineda Mangosing, while the name written in her birth certificate is Cornelio Pineda Mangosing.

At first glance, it looked like all Aling Nelia had to do was file a petition for correction of a clerical error on her birth certificate.  After all, it was just one letter – “o” in Cornelio should be changed to “a” to make it Cornelia.  However, when she sought assistance from the Local Civil Registry, she was informed that it is not as simple as it seemed.

What is the difference between correction of clerical error and change of name?

A lot, actually.

Correction of clerical error is covered by R.A. 9048 where an error in a birth certificate is corrected without the need to file a case in court, hire a lawyer, and attend hearings.  The corrections are applied by the LCR where the birth was registered.  RA 9048 may be applied if the error or errors are clearly typhographical in nature – harmless and innocuous.  An evidence of which is that the name, in its erroneous form, sounds ridiculous and tainted with dishonor.

On the other hand, a name that was supposedly misspelled but is still acceptable as a name, may not always be considered misspelled and therefore, may not be covered by the provisions of RA 9048.  Correcting such kinds of entries in a birth certificate follows a different process.

Cornelio vs. Cornelia

Aling Nelia’s name, as far as she is concerned, is misspelled.  Her name is Cornelia, not Cornelio.  Her argument is valid and she has all the documents to prove her claim.  However, the supposed misspelled name, Cornelio, is in itself, a name!  Changing the last letter to make it Cornelia would mean just that – changing the name – not merely correcting the spelling.

What should be done then?

Aling Nelia may resort to have the correction applied through a judicial proceeding.  She needs to file a verified petition in the Regional Trial Court of her birth place or where the LCR is located.  The rest of the procedures she needs to follow are outlined in Rule 108 of the Rules of Court in order to apply the necessary “correction”.  This may be better explained to her by a lawyer.

It may seem strange to have to go through a rather complicated process when all Aling Nelia wanted was to set her records straight and align the name on her birth certificate with the name that she had been using all her life.  At this point, she actually has two options: she could have her name changed through a court proceeding, or simply adopt “Cornelio” being the registered name and drop “Cornelia”.  The latter, of course, would be a ridiculous choice.

This is another reminder for all of us to always be careful when accomplishing public documents such as Certificates of Live Birth, Marriage Certificates, and Death Certificates.  An honest mistake may lead to a string of complications that may affect important transactions such as passport applications and benefit claims.

If you have questions regarding your birth certificate or think that there might be an error you need to rectify, proceed to the LCR office where your birth was registered.  You may also drop us a line and we will do our best to find the most accurate answers for you.

Source: www.psa.gov.ph

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05 - 12

This article is for our mom-to-be followers who are wondering if they are qualified to claim for maternity benefits from the SSS.  Often, expectant mothers who only recently began making SSS contributions, or those who missed a month or two prior to their delivery dates, are worried that they would not be able to claim assistance from SSS.

We lifted the official computation and other guidelines from the SSS website to help all female SSS members understand how maternity benefits are determined.

Read on!

The SSS Maternity Benefit

  • For normal delivery and miscarriages: 100% of member’s average daily salary credit multiplied by 60 days.
  • For caesarean section delivery: 100% of member’s average daily salary credit multiplied by 78 days.

Benefit Computation

  1. Exclude the semester of contingency (delivery or miscarriage).
    • A semester refers to two consecutive quarters ending in the quarter of delivery.
    • A quarter refers to three consecutive months ending March, June, September, or December.
  2. Count 12 months backwards starting from the month immediately before the semester of contingency.
  3. Identify the six highest monthly salary credits within the 12-month period.  The monthly salary credit means the compensation base for contributions and benefits related to the total earnings for the month.  The maximum covered earnings or compensation is Php 16,000.00 effective January 1, 2014.
  4. Add the six highest monthly salary credits to get the total monthly salary credit.
  5. Divide the total monthly salary credit by 180 days to get the average daily salary credit.  This is equivalent to the daily maternity allowance.
  6. Multiply the daily maternity allowance by 60 (for normal delivery or miscarriage) or 78 days (for caesarean section delivery) to get the total amount of maternity benefit.

Below is an example:

Let’s say the SSS member will give birth on December 2017, how do we determine the amount of maternity benefit she can expect from SSS?

  1. The semester of contingency is from July 2017 to December 2017.
  2. The 12-month period before the semester of contingency would be from July 2016 to June 2017.
  3. Assuming the six highest monthly salary credits are Php 15,000 each, then the total monthly salary credit would be Php 90,000.00 (Php15,000 x 6).
  4. The daily maternity allowance would be Php 500.00 (Php 90,000 / 180).
  5. To get the total amount of maternity benefit: multiply the daily maternity allowance by the number of days based on the type of delivery:
    • For normal delivery and miscarriages: Php 500 x 60 = Php 30,000.00
    • For caesarian section delivery: Php 500 x 78 = Php 39,000.00

Important Reminders:

  1. The SSS maternity benefit is paid to a female member for the first four deliveries and miscarriages only, by virtue of the Social Security Act of 1997 (RA 8282).
  2. Employed members shall receive the full amount of the maternity benefit within 30 days from the date of filing of the maternity leave application.  This will be given in advance by the employer (who shall then be reimbursed in full by the SSS).
  3. If the employee member gives birth or suffers a miscarriage and the required number of contributions have not been properly remitted by the employer, or if the employer fails to notify the SSS, the employer will be required to pay damages to the SSS.  Such damages shall be equivalent to the benefits that the employee should have been entitled to.
  4. Separated / voluntary / self-employed members shall be paid directly by the SSS.
  5. A female member cannot claim for sickness benefit for a period of 60 days for normal delivery or miscarriage and 78 days for caesarean delivery.  No member can be entitled to two benefits for the same period.

The moment you have confirmed that you are pregnant, notify your employer right away.  If you are a voluntary member, file the necessary papers at the SSS immediately.  This will secure the validity of your claim, whether you carry the child to full term or suffer a miscarriage (anything can happen).  It also pays to create an online SSS account so you can monitor your and your employer’s monthly contribution.

We hope this article helps all new and future mothers!

Source: www.sss.gov.ph

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05 - 10

To work abroad and be able to provide handsomely for their families in the Philippines is a common goal among most Filipinos.  Time and distance become insignificant at the promise of a better compensation package, a legitimate contract, and sometimes, an opportunity to migrate overseas with the family.

While most OFWs are able to enjoy the sweet fruits of their labor, it is no secret that more than a handful of them come back home with broken hearts and dreams.  Why is this so?

We researched on the top reasons our beloved OFWs give up on their goals abroad, pack their bags, and take the next flight out back to where they came from.  What problems plague overseas workers and how can these be prevented?  Read on.

1. Becoming a victim of Illegal Recruitment

Lack of proper information and awareness, as well as failure to check with the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) before engaging with an agency, are the main reasons why Pinoys fall prey to illegal recruiters.

Avoid becoming a victim of illegal recruitment by diligently checking with the POEA if your agency is properly listed as a recruitment firm and has a good track record among other workers.

2. High placement fees

Another red flag when engaging with a recruitment agency are exorbitant placement fees that you know you will not be able to pay even after you’ve completed your 24-month contract abroad.  Some recruiters will encourage you to agree to an “installment plan” where part of your salary automatically goes to paying for your placement fee’s outstanding balance.  Do not fall for such “sweet talk”, especially if they compel you to give them authorization to deduct some amount from your salary.

You have the right to refuse a job offer if it obviously puts you in debt even before you leave the country.

3. Employer abuse

This could be an offshoot of numbers 1 and 2.

Abuse does not only mean physical or verbal; some employers discriminate against your race or religion and that too is considered as abuse.  If you find yourself in this situation, get in touch with the Philippine embassy in your location and ask for help right away.

4. Extra-marital relationships and broken families

This happens for a multitude of reasons but most common is the OFW’s inability to cope with homesickness and loneliness.  Others find the need to get into illicit relationships for additional income and sustain their stay abroad (i.e. marriage for convenience).

You can avoid this by maintaining consistent and meaningful conversations with your spouse and children even when you are far.

5. Landing in jail for offenses they did not commit

Nightly news are never without OFWs and their families seeking the government’s intervention for false accusations that landed their loved one in a foreign jail cell.  The scenes are as heartbreaking as your nightly telenovela and sadly, most end up with the poor OFW coming home in a wooden box.

Stay away from dubious groups and avoid engaging in questionable transactions while you are abroad.  Always keep your personal belongings secured especially if you live with other overseas workers.

6. Failed family business

OFWs entrust their hard-earned money to their parents, siblings, or spouses in the hope that this is invested properly and used wisely to meet the go out of control.  Sadly, this also causes rifts among family members, and husbands and wives.  family’s needs.  But because of lack of research and proper business planning, investments fail to grow and expenses

7. Dwindling value of the Philippine Peso

This is something that is beyond anyone’s control unless you are the President of the country.  Yet this affects an OFW’s family’s monthly income so much.  That is why it pays to learn how to invest properly and grow a profitable side business.  This ensures you of a passive income that you can count on whenever the country’s economy adversely affects your household income.

8. Getting caught in violent uprisings and natural disasters abroad.

Again, this is beyond your control as an OFW or an OFW’s allotee; and again, you can respond positively to these types of setbacks with a stable savings account and a profitable investment.

9. Unable to get assistance from consular and embassy officials abroad.

Either the OFW is deployed in a remote area or the Philippine embassy in his country has limited manpower and so they are unable to attend to all Pinoys seeking assistance.

10. Compelling family problems back home

A terminally ill parent, a child getting hooked on drugs, or a spouse running off with a new partner; these familiar situations are surefire ways to get a Pinoy OFW to come running back home.

There may be more problems that plague overseas workers that are not mentioned in this article.  But obviously, these are not enough to keep Filipinos from seeking employment abroad.  It is every person’s responsibility to ensure that he gains more from the effort of leaving his family behind than the price he has to pay in the end.

We hope this article helped shed light on some of the issues experienced by Pinoy OFWs and their families.  Your own experiences, lessons, and advises to fellow OFWs are most welcome too!

Reference:

http://www.pinoy-ofw.com

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05 - 09

Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), like our beloved Senior Citizens, are rightfully entitled to additional benefits and privileges such as discounts and VAT exemptions at pharmacies, groceries, and dining establishments.  They should also be given priority in public transportation and parking spaces, cashier lines, and access ways such as elevators and escalators.

For everybody’s information, we summarized the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of RA 10754 or the Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disability (PWDs).  This was signed by the DSWD, DOH, and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) last December 2016, and is enforced in all parts of the country.  This should help us appreciate the privileges entitled to the PWDs in our families, workplaces, and communities.

I. Discounts and VAT Exemptions

  1. At least 20% discount and VAT exemption on goods and services availed at the following establishments:
    • Hotel and similar lodging establishments
    • Restaurants
    • Recreation centers
    • Theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, circuses, carnivals, and other similar places of culture, leisure, and amusement.
    • Medicine
    • Medical and dental services, including diagnostic and laboratory fees and professional fees of attending doctors in all private hospitals and medical facilities (subject to guidelines to be issued by the Department of Health in coordination with Philippine Health Insurance Corporation)
    • Domestic air and sea travel
    • Public railways, skyways, and other public utility vehicles (including buses, jeeps, taxis, and shuttle services).
    • Funeral and burial services for the death of the PWD.
  2. 5% discount on the following:
    • Basic necessities such as:
      • Rice, corn, bread, fresh or dried and canned fish and other marine products, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh eggs, fresh and processed milk, infant formula, fresh vegetables, root crops, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, detergents, firewood, charcoal, candles and other commodities as may be classified by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Agriculture (DA).
    • Prime commodities such as:
      • Fresh fruits, dried or processed or canned pork, beef and poultry, meat, dairy products not falling under basic necessities, noodles, onions, garlic, diapers, herbicides, poultry, swine and cattle feeds, veterinary products for poultry, swine and cattle, paper, school supplies, nipa shingle, plyboard, construction nails, batteries, electrical supplies, light bulbs, steel wire, and other commodities that may be classified by the DTI and DA.
      • Purchase must not exceed Php 1,300 per week to enjoy the 5% discount.

II. Guidelines when availing discounts:

  1. A purchase booklet must be presented to the store or retailer every time a purchase of basic necessities and prime commodities is made.
  2. Double discounts is strictly prohibited; the privilege shall not be granted if the PWD claims a higher discount as may be granted by the retail establishment and/or under other existing laws or in combination with other discount programs such as those extended to senior citizens.
  3. If the PWD is not able to physically purchase the basic necessities, he must appoint an authorized representative through a date authorization letterThe representative must present a valid government-issued identification document together with the LGU-issued identification document of the concerned PWD.

III. Other benefits and mandates under the IRR:

  1. The law covers educational assistance for all levels, social insurance through GSIS, SSS, and Pag-IBIG.
  2. Express lane privileges in all commercial and government establishments.
  3. Tax incentives for those caring for and living with persons with disability up to the fourth degree of affinity or consanguinity.
  4. The benefits and privileges are available only to PWD who are Filipino citizens and upon submission of identifications that would prove his or her entitlement.
  5. In this regard, the PWD is free to present any of the following IDs and these must be honored by establishments:
    • An ID issued by the city or municipal mayor or the barangay captain of the place where the PWD resides;
    • Passport of PWD;
    • Transportation discount fare ID issued by the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP).
  6. Different cities and provinces have special ordinances implemented in their respective areas for PWDs:
    • PWDs residing in Quezon City enjoy free movie admission on Mondays and Tuesdays until 5pm at QC malls.
    • Zamboanga City has a Community Action and Resources for Accessible, Better and Leverage Environment (CARe-ABLE) for PWDs, providing enhanced social protection projects and activities for PWDs.

You may contact your city or municipal hall for the details of special programs for PWDs in the area.

It pays to be well-informed to ensure that you get to enjoy the perks and privileges granted by our government for special cases in our communities.  Share this with families and friends!

Sources:

http://www.gov.ph

http://www.ncda.gov.ph

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“Kailangan bang naka upo sa wheelchair o naka saklay ang PWD bago siya i-consider na person with disability?  Kasi PWD ako pero ayaw akong bigyan ng discount sa parmasya dahil ayaw maniwalang PWD ako.” – Mila, an epileptic.

Often when we see the acronym “PWD”, we think of a person who isn’t able to walk or move on his own, could not speak, see, or hear.  Very few would consider the fact that a disability (or being ‘disabled’) does not only mean having physical impairments.  You may be looking at a person who is able to function normally, has complete control of his limbs, but is actually considered a PWD because of an illness that limits his ability to perform other tasks.

It is probably because of this limited concept on disabilities that cause confusion and conflict in providing and allowing for a PWD’s rights and benefits.  Senior citizens have long been enjoying their privileges (with the flash of an SC I.D. and they are immediately granted a discount, a free seat, or a prime parking space), while PWDs still need to fight it out with business establishments (such as in the case of Mila) in order to be given the right assistance.

Today’s article will focus on the Pinoy PWD, who he is and who determines if he is qualified to be called a ‘PWD’.  If you or someone you know is a PWD (or you think falls under this category), share this with them too.

Who is a PWD?

R.A. 7277 or the Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons should the record straight for all of us.  According to the law, PWDs are:

“Those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

The definition covers people who are deaf, mute, blind, epileptic, and has physical malformations.  They may have had these conditions from birth or were acquired due to a prior illness, an accident, a stroke or heart attack, and the like.

Some impairment are not physically obvious that is why it is important that PWDs carry with them an ID as proof of their condition and in most cases, to support their claim for special benefits and privileges.

To serve as reference, here is a list of illnesses and physical conditions that are considered ‘disabilities’ by the National Council on Disability Affairs.  This, however, does not limit the conditions that may be considered ‘disabilities’, depending on the person’s physical or mental condition:

  • Physical and Orthopedic Disability
  • Visual Impairment
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Speech Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Psycho Social Disability (includes people with ADHD, Bi-polar disorder, long-term recurring depression, nervous breakdown, epilepsy, schizophrenia and other long-term recurring mental or behavioral problems).

In cases of multiple disabilities, the dominant disability is identified as the primary disability, followed by secondary or other disabilities.

Who determines if a person should be considered a PWD?

The establishment that issued the disability document, such as the:

  • Office of the Mayor
  • Office of the Barangay Captain
  • National Commission on Disability Affairs (NCDA)
  • DSWD Offices
  • Participating organizations with Memorandum of Agreements with the DOH
  • Apparent Disability Medical Certificate Licensed Private or Government Physician
  • School Assessment Licensed Teacher duly signed by the School Principal

A person who is considered a PWD is entitled to rights, benefits, and privileges.  We will provide you with a summary of the salient points of the IRR tomorrow.

Meanwhile, you may read our article on how to get a PWD ID here.

Sources:

www.ncda.gov.ph

www.gov.ph

www.doh.gov.ph

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