• House panel approves bill on additional benefits for PWDs


    A COMMITTEE at the House of Representatives has approved an unnumbered substitute bill providing for additional privileges to persons with disability (PWDs).

    The Committee on Social Services approved the bill amending Sections 5 and 32 of Republic Act (RA) 7277 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.

    Under the bill, at least two percent of all positions in government agencies, offices or corporations will be filled up with qualified PWDs, while private corporations will be mandated to reserve at least one percent of all positions for PWDs.

    About P500 will also be given to marginalized PWDs as their monthly stipend to augment their daily subsistence, medical and other needs upon the review by the Joint Congressional Committees on Appropriations and Social Services, in consultation with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and other concerned agencies.

    The bill will also provide for free assistive technology services, including the evaluation of the needs and the functional capacity of PWDs in the customary environment or place of employment, as well as the designing, maintaining, repairing or replacing of assistive technology devices.

    Training or technical assistance and sign language, interpreting and job coaching will also be provided to PWDs.

    Technical aids, prosthetics and other orthotic devices that will restore the PWD’s social functioning and participation in community affairs will be given.

    Aside from these, PWDs will also be exempted from passport processing fees, travel taxes, terminal fees, other fees and charges levied in airports, ports, or other terminals by the government, any of its agencies or instrumentalities, or by government-owned or controlled corporations (GOCCs).

    The bill will be passed on to the House Committee on Appropriations for funding approval. RALPH VILLANUEVA


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