Aquino signs into law VAT exemption for PWDs

PRESIDENT Benigno Simeon Aquino III has signed into law the bill exempting persons with disabilities (PWDs) from the value-added tax (VAT).

“According to PLLO (Presidential Legislative Liaison Office) Undersecretary Bernardito Sayo, President Aquino signed Republic Act No. 10754 last March 23,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. in a text message to VERA Files.

“This new law grants VAT exemption benefits to persons with disabilities (PWDs),” Coloma added.

The law exempts PWDs from the 12 percent VAT, on top of the 20 percent discount they are currently entitled to under the Magna Carta.

The said discount applies to transportation fees, medical and laboratory charges, cost of medicines, admission fees in cinemas and other leisure and amusement places, and funeral and burial services.

RA 10754 also grants tax incentives to those caring for and living with PWDs.

Dahil ang pangangailangang medikal ng karamihan sa ating PWDs ay hindi pangkaraniwan, may kamahalan sa presyo at dapat tuloy-tuloy ang paggagamot, ang dagdag diskwento sa pamamagitan ng VAT exemption at ang kabawasan sa income tax ng kanilang pamilya ay magdudulot ng kaginhawaan para sa mga PWD [Because their medical needs are not commonplace, and continuous medication is costly, PWDs would greatly benefit from the VAT exemption and tax incentive for their families],” said senator Sonny Angara, sponsor of the bill in Senate and chair of the ways and means committee.

Carmen Zubiaga, Acting Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), in a previous interview said that discounts for PWDs and their families are “very important.”

“It’s very important lalung-lalo na doon sa may mga [especially for those who take ] maintenance medicines, yung may kailangan nila ng [those who need] rehabilitation, yung kailangan nilang bumili ng mga [those who purchase] assistive devices,” Zubiaga said.

The Department of Health, in consultation with NCDA, the Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Finance (DOF), will be tasked to develop the implementing rules and regulations of the new law.

Some 1.4 million Filipinos have disabilities, results of the 2010 census show. (By Jake Soriano)

Full text of RA 10754: