By Filane Mikee Cervantes
MANILA – A lawmaker on Friday called for the immediate passage of a measure that would grant persons with disabilities (PWDs) a 20-percent fixed discount on toll fees of skyways and expressways.
Quezon City Representative Marvin Rillo made the call on the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities to promote the rights and welfare of individuals with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments.
Rillo said House Bill 5275 proposes to give PWDs a 20-percent discount on toll road fees that are paid through radio frequency identification (RFID) or similar systems.
He said this is in line with the policy of the State to protect PWDs and promote their welfare and development, as the proposed law would better cater to their evolving needs by expanding the benefits and privileges of PWDs under the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
“Once enacted, our measure will surely give more substance to the mandate of the Constitution for the State to prioritize the needs of Filipinos who are highly vulnerable to marginalization,” Rillo said.
He cited a National Disability Prevalence Survey of the Philippine Statistics Authority that showed that an estimated 12 percent of Filipinos aged 15 years and older experience a severe disability.
The survey also showed that “severe disability” affects more Filipino women (15 percent) than men (9 percent).
“Disability is considered on a larger scale, not just in the Philippines but also in the world, as a human right issue especially when the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) comes into force,” he said.
Under the measure, the motor vehicle using the skyway or expressway must be registered in the name of the PWD, who must submit a copy of his or her PWD ID card to the tollway operator when applying for an RFID tag to avail of the 20-percent discount.
The Department of Transportation’s Toll Regulatory Board would be required to issue the rules to enforce the discount.
At present, PWDs already enjoy a 20 percent discount on public transport fares, including train ride tickets. (PNA)