Undersecretary Rosie Lovely T.. Romulo, Chairperson of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) led the consultation dialogue with leaders of persons with disabilities held on January 14, 2010 at the NCDA office. The participants represent their respective organizations based in Metro Manila and nearby localities. Mrs. Romulo was joined by NCDA Assistant Nora C. Salazar and Mr. Mateo A. Lee, Jr., Officer-in-Charge of the NCDA.

Several issues affecting persons with disabilities were tackled that includes the 20% discount privileges in the purchase of medicines pursuant to the Republic Act 9442, guidelines on the computerization of the issuance of the identification cards providing for the 20% discount, and employment and livelihood programs of persons with disabilities.

In response to comments raised by the participants particularly on the 20% discount in the purchase of medicines, he informed them that NCDA had a meeting with the Drugstores Association of the Philippines (DSAP) and came up with the following three (3) agreements:

NCDA Officials led the consultation dialogue with leaders of persons with disabilities

  1. Immediate implementation of the 20% discount only to uni-branded and generic medicines for the first six (6) months of 2010 and to include all branded medicines after the said period;
  2. NCDA shall support DSAP in encouraging the multi-national pharmaceutical companies to share in the cost of the 20% discount while lobbying before congress to amend the tax deductions provision of RA 9442 into tax credit as a way of tax incentives to the drugstores industry, and;
  3. NCDA shall request the Department of Health (DOH) to exempt from the 20% discount the medicine listed in the coverage of Cheaper Medicine Law for the six months of implementation in 2010.

However, all these agreements were referred by NCDA Board to the Legal Consultant for comments since there is a pending case in Court where DSAP is seeking a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO).

On the issuance of computerized identification cards, it was disclosed that persons with disabilities can secure the application forms by downloading them from the DOH website for the issuance of ID numbers and generation of statistical report. This will cover NGAs, LGUs, NGOs and organizations of PWDs or any individual whether directly or indirectly involved in the availment of the PWD-ID. This would also undertake data collection of statistics of persons with disabilities.

On the issue of employment and livelihood of persons with disabilities, PWDs are encouraged to engage in DOLE’s Kabuhayan Starter Kit (Knowledge-sharing, Inputs acquisition, Training on Entrepreneurship and Skills acquisition) and on the program scheme being undertaken by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) dubbed as “One Town One Product” (OTOP).

PWD leader makes presentation of best practices

Other discussions include presentation of different programs and projects of leaders with disabilities citing good practices by their local government units that include the cities of Angeles, Mandaluyong, Makati, Valenzuela, and Quezon.

Mrs. Romulo acknowledged their presentations and remarks where benefits for persons with disabilities provided by the government are more readily available as a result of the various mandates and policies.