Tag Archives: National Council on Disability Affairs

Safety first!

Filipino journalists deployed in “difficult, strife-torn, and embattled areas” might have “adequate mandatory hazard pay and commensurate insurance” once the Senate Bill 1860 is passed.

Filed by the chair of the senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development Sen. Leila de Lima, the “Journalists’ Protection Act of 2018” would require media entities to give members of the press (a) a hazard pay equivalent to at least 25 percent of the gross monthly salary of the journalist, (b) an insurance of P350,000 for disability and up to P200,000 for hospitalization, and (c) a special insurance program for freelance journalists by Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System.

The hazard pay shall not be subjected to tax and the death benefits amounting to 300,000 shall be given to all media practitioners and employees who will die in the line of duty.

Had this been thought of before November 23, 2009, the 34 journalists who have gone with former vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan1 would have been benefited. They were kidnapped and killed then, prompting the Committee to Protect Journalists2 to call what happened that day as “the single deadliest event for journalists in history.”

Or Arturo Acosta Borjal before he succumbed to lung cancer. He was just three years old when he had been struck with polio, a viral disease causing muscular paralysis and skeletal atrophy and deformity.

The son of Arsenio V. Borjal and Marta Acosta Borjal just persevered. He studied humanities and law degrees at the Ateneo de Manila University (he was the school paper’s editor-in-chief and president of the Debating Team and the Supreme Student Council before he finished Law), keeping in mind his reason for doing so: to fight for the dignity and rights of fellow Filipinos with disabilities.

AAB had principally authored Republic Act 72773 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. He had dedicated his daily column in The Philippine Star to appeal for help for the sector and commend government and welfare organizations that assist it. He had also directed Tahanang Walang Hagdan (Home with No Stairs) and had hosted two public affairs programs of GMA7, “Issues and Answers” and “No Holds Barred.”

He had been the executive director of the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP)4, too. And the 1990s had been such a decade for him. He became the president of the City College of Manila (CCM), appointed as Sectoral Representative for the Disabled in the Eighth Congress, founded Abilympics Philippines, chairman of Gulong sa Pagsulong project, and speaker/delegate to the 16th World Congress of Rehabilitation International in Tokyo, Japan.

The first Filipino journalist ever elected as president of the Manila Overseas Club and the National Press Club, AAJ received the City Government of Manila’s 1981 Outstanding Citizen of Manila, Ateneo de Manila University’s 1961 Distinguished Leadership Awardee, Rotary Club of Manila’s 1986 Newspaperman of the Year, and Catholic Mass Media Awards’ 1986 Best Opinion Columnist. He was the director of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) at the time of his death.

“The press is considered as the fourth estate, a significant pillar of our democracy. However, journalism and reporting the news remains to be a dangerous profession.” ~ Sen. Leila de Lima

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Love KIMXI

Notes: Aside from the Senate Bill 1860, Sen. De Lima also principally authored the Senate Bill 1197 or the “Act Defining Extrajudicial Killing and Providing for its penalty.” She has conducted four hearings on this subject during her chairpersonship of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and delivered three privilege speeches on extrajudicial killings and fake news.

1The capital of Maguindanao since 2014, Buluan is a 4th class municipality subdivided into seven barangays.

2The Committee to Protect Journalists is a New York-based independent non-profit, non-governmental organization with correspondents around the world. It promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists, earning it the name “Journalism’s Red Cross”.

3The law, promulgated by former president Corazon Aquino in March 24, 1992, provided for the rehabilitation, self-development and self-reliance of PWDs by giving them equal access to education and employment and easier mobility in public establishments.

4It was renamed the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).

Advertisements

Healthcare in the Philippines

“We are currently institutionalizing the unified implementation of the “No Balance Billing Policy” through which the government and our private healthcare providers can work out a system that will provide an order of charging of medical expenses.”

A year ago, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed into law the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law. No hospital shall “request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit” for any medical treatment starting then, and any violator would be punished by either imprisonment, fine, or both. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) were also called upon for the implementation of this law: the first to reimburse the hospital or clinic for the medical costs and transportation services given to poor and indigent patients, while the second to provide medical assistance for the basic emergency care needs of poor and marginalized groups.

Much needs to be done to improve our healthcare system, which remains highly fragmented, resulting in disparity in health outcomes between the rich and the poor in the urban areas and rural. While investments in health have increased over the years, several policy and operational bottlenecks have constrained universal health care for this country.”

But the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPi) was against it. As soon as the implementing rules and regulations of the law were released, they filed a petition to the Supreme Court to nullify the Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law by Increasing the Penalties for the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate Initial Treatment and Support in Emergency or Serious Cases. The penalties1  for health facilities that refuse to take in emergency patients who cannot pay in advance is “unconstitutional,” “unreasonable,” and “amounts to denial of due process.” Directing the PhilHealth and the PCSO to reimburse basic emergency care costs to “poor and indigent patients” is violative of the equal protection clause, too, amounting to involuntary servitude.

“We shall pool all our resources for health services under the [PhilHealth]; institutionalize primary care as a prerequisite to access higher level of healthcare; and supplement human resource gaps of the LGUs through a National Health Workforce Support System.”

So, as of now, the PhilHealth covers Filipinos regardless of their social status. An amount—termed as the “case rate amount”—would be deducted from the member’s total bill, which would include the professional fees of attending physicians, prior to discharge2. Filipinos can also turn to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to get free prescription medicine through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program3.

“These will ensure that every Filipino family gets the appropriate, affordable, and quality health services in appropriate facilities and will be protected from financial burden due to sickness.”

Indigents, government employees, services workers, and those “determined by DSWD social workers” can benefit from the program through referral letters to the department’s partner-drugstores and hospital pharmacies. They must just submit their medical certificate, doctor’s prescription, indigent card, and valid ID to the DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) located at the Central Office, field offices, and satellite offices in the provinces.

“To this end, I urge the speedy passage of the Universal Health Care Bill authored by Former Representative Harry Roque. Strong political determination, not political ambition, is the guiding light.”

The Universal Health Care bill will automatically include Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). The House of Representatives has already passed its third and final reading on this in September 2017, while the Senate’s counterpart measure is still pending at its committee on health. It will be most beneficial to PWDs and tobacco victims, Emer Rojas, president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) was quoted as saying in a report, since it will ensure that they are especially provided for with their respective healthcare needs.

One of the most important thrusts of this administration’s medium-term development plan is to cover all Filipinos against financial health risks. That is why I have directed concerned agencies to streamline the various sources of financial assistance for people with health-related needs.” ~ Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte 

1The Republic Act No. 10932 further notes imprisonment from four to six years, or a fine from P500,000 to P1,000,000, to directors or officers of hospitals or clinics, or both. The facility’s license to operate will also be revoked after three repeated violations, and a presumption of liability shall arise against the hospital and its employees. 

2 Filipinos must just go to any PhilHealth office to register, fill out two copies of the PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF), submit the PMRF to the human resources department, then await the member data record and PhilHealth ID card from employer. The contributions are shared by the employee and the employer, and could be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Filipino senior citizens can apply as well as those who are unemployed or self-employed. Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—documented or undocumented—can register, too. They only have to pay ₱2,400.00 annually or in two increments (₱1,200 every six months). Members could then have 45 days hospitalization allowance after paying at least 3 months’ worth of premiums within the immediate 6 months of confinement. Nine months’ worth of contributions in the last 12 months is needed, on the other hand, for pregnancies, the new born care package, dialysis, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and selected surgical procedures. The attending physician(s) and the health care institutions (HCI) must also be PhilHealth-accredited.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rappler

PWD Complaints

In the Philippines, persons with disability can only avail of one discount scheme: the promo discount or the discount mandated by the Republic Act 9442.

“There is also another law that exempt PWD discount from value added tax, which is Republic Act 10754,” explained Carmen Reyes Zubiaga, acting executive director of the National Council on Disability Affairs, in an email.

“Value added [tax] is only 12%. The computation should be as follows—VAT inclusive Retail Price less 12% VAT and less 20% discount,” she added.

This goes without saying that if a good or service has already excluded the value-added tax from the cost, a PWD can still avail of the promo discount and/or the PWD discount provided that the price of goods or service in promo is entitled to the value added tax.

“For the availment of discount instead of promo, you have to ask the regular price of the procedure. However, you also have to check if the discounted price [already] includes VAT (if the product is VATable). Also, look for proof that the product is discounted (public announcement, fliers, approval of DTI and other approving entities).”

For further inquiries about the discounts and privileges of PWDs in the Philippines, Dir. Zubiaga advised to visit the NCDA.

“The worst thing about a disability is that people see it before they see you.” ~ Easter Seals

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Julia Davila

 

Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled

The Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PFRD) had been organized in 1949 and was registered with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) on February 10, 1950.

It was launched as a rehabilitation movement that became the first local organization to be affiliated with the Rehabilitation International (RI), a global network that empowers the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) founded in 1922.

The PFRD had hosted the Second International Conference on Legislation Concerning the Disabled where the former president Ferdinand Marcos signed the Presidential Decree No. 1509 and established the National Commission Concerning Disabled Persons (NCCDP).

That changed, however, during the administration of President Corazon Aquino. The NCCDP was restructured and reorganized into the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP). It was later renamed as the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) mandated to check if the laws* protecting the civil and political rights of the PWDs in the country are really implemented, and then transferred to the Office of the President of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Continuing On

But the PFRD retained its identity.

It launched the Apolinario Mabini Awards to recognize annually the individuals, groups, and agencies who have contributed in rehabilitating and promoting PWDs. It also began the Philympics, a national sports competition for PWDs integrating sports and rehabilitation.

Parents who deny that they neglect to intervene in the development of their children with disabilities were trained regularly by the PFRD as well. It has disseminated 3,551 wheelchairs to date with the help of both government and non-government organizations.

As of this writing, the PFRD has “redirected its policies and strategies to effectively accomplish its primary mission of promoting rehabilitation against a backdrop of unfavorable social and economic conditions.”

“PFRD has the distinction of being the oldest non-governmental organization (NGO) that has worked for the last 59 years to address the needs of disabled persons.” ~ From the PFRD website

*These are the Republic Act 7277 (Magna Carta for Disabled Persons), Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 (Accessibility Law), Republic Act 6759 (White Cane Act), and the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention No. 159 (Vocational Rehabilitation of Persons With Disability).