In the Philippines, individuals with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments are designated as Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), a category that may hinder full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others due to the interaction of various barriers.
A person with a disability designation is used to provide legal protection, grant privileges such as discounts and special services, and promote their rights and well-being. This step is per the country’s commitment to fulfilling the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Who are the Persons with Disabilities
A Filipino with a disability (PWD) is defined as any person with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder his/her full and effective participation in society equal basis with others.
This definition includes, but is not limited to, persons with the following conditions: mobility impairment, visual impairment, hearing impairment, speech impairment, mental retardation, mental illness, and learning disability.
The PWD designation is determined by a government-appointed doctor, who assesses the individual’s condition and determines whether they meet the criteria to be considered a PWD.
Challenges PWDs face in the Philippines
Many buildings, public spaces, and transportation systems in the Philippines are not designed to be accessible to PWDs, making it difficult for them to move around and participate in society. This can include a lack of ramps, elevators, or accessible toilets.
PWDs often face barriers to accessing education, with many schools not equipped to accommodate their needs. This can include a lack of assistive technology, accessible textbooks, or trained teachers.
PWDs in the Philippines often face discrimination in the workplace, making it difficult for them to find and retain jobs. Many employers are not aware of the capabilities of PWDs or are not willing to make accommodations for them.
PWDs in the Philippines often have limited access to healthcare, with many medical facilities not designed to accommodate their needs. This can make it difficult for PWDs to receive appropriate medical care, including preventive care and treatment for chronic conditions.
PWDs in the Philippines often face negative attitudes and stereotypes from society, which can lead to social isolation and exclusion. This can also impact their mental health and well-being.
PWDs in the Philippines are more likely to live in poverty than the general population, which can limit their access to necessities like food, shelter, and healthcare. This can also make it difficult for PWDs to access education or employment opportunities.
Privileges and benefits of PWDs in the Philippines
In the Philippines, persons with disabilities (PWDs) are entitled to several benefits and privileges, including:
PWDs are entitled to a 20% discount and exemption from the value-added tax (VAT) on medical and dental services and on the purchase of medicine.
- Special lanes
PWDs are entitled to special lanes in all establishments, including government agencies and commercial establishments.
Public buildings and facilities must be accessible to PWDs, with provisions such as ramps, elevators, and Braille markings.
PWDs are entitled to priority seating in all forms of transportation and to a 50% discount on fares for all modes of transportation.
- Employment PWDs are considered a marginalized sector and are given priority in government programs and services.
PWDs are entitled to a free, appropriate, and quality education.
These benefits and privileges aim to support PWDs in leading entire and inclusive lives and to promote their rights and well-being. To avail of these benefits, PWDs must present their PWD IDs as proof.
PWD ID Application
In the Philippines, the application for a Person with Disability (PWD) identification card is usually done at the Municipal or City Health Office where the applicant resides. To apply for a person with disability (PWD) ID in the Philippines, the following steps are typically required:
Gather the required documents
These may include a medical certificate from a government-accredited doctor or hospital, proof of Filipino citizenship (such as a birth certificate or passport), and a recent 2×2 photograph.
Fill out the PWD ID application form
This can typically be obtained from the nearest city or municipal office. Be sure to fill out the form completely and accurately.
Submit the application and required documents
Bring the completed application form and required documents to the nearest city or municipal office. The office will then verify the information and process the application.
Attend an assessment
After the application is submitted, an assessment may be conducted to determine the degree of disability. This assessment may include a physical examination and an evaluation of the applicant’s ability to perform daily tasks.
Wait for the PWD ID to be issued.
Once the application has been processed, the PWD ID will be issued. The ID is typically valid for five years and can be renewed upon expiry.
It’s important to remember that the process may vary depending on the region and local government office, so it is always good to check with the local office for specific requirements and procedures.
PWD ID Renewal
Renewing a Person with Disability (PWD) identification card in the Philippines is similar to the initial application process. Here are the steps to renew a PWD ID:
- Secure a new medical certificate from a government-appointed doctor certifying that the applicant still has a disability.
- Fill out the PWD ID renewal form, which is available at the Municipal or City Health Office.
- Submit the completed renewal form and new medical certificate to the Municipal or City Health Office.
- Pay the required fee, if any.
- Wait for the processing of the renewal application, which may take several days to a few weeks.
- Once the renewal application is approved, the renewed PWD ID will be issued and can be claimed at the Municipal or City Health Office.
In recent years, there have been efforts in the Philippines to increase awareness about the rights and needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs). As a result, several initiatives have been aimed at improving the lives of PWDs and providing them with better access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.
Some benefits PWDs in the Philippines have gained access to assistive technology, including hearing aids and mobility aids, and greater availability of accessible public transportation and facilities. Additionally, there have been efforts to increase the representation of PWDs in government and to provide them with equal opportunities in the workplace.
While there is still a long way to go in addressing the many challenges faced by PWDs in the Philippines, there has been progressing in recent years toward greater inclusion and accessibility. As a society, we must continue to prioritize the needs of PWDs and work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society that recognizes and values the contributions of all its members. By doing so, we can ensure that PWDs in the Philippines can lead fulfilling lives and make meaningful contributions to their communities.