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Davao City, Philippines

PWD malasakit fund

January 19, 2023 - Thursday 4:01 PM by Erwin Tulfo

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We have more than enough laws than we need, but one law that we must have is a measure that shall be realistically and effectively beneficial to young persons with disabilities (PWDs), particularly those belonging to the poorest of the poor.

I was awestruck by a recent study submitted to me when I served as Secretary of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), showing the agony of shouldering the unbelievable costs of caring for PWD kids, let alone covering for the various medical treatment they need.

One disheartening case referred to me by one of my senior staff members is that of Niño, who is afflicted with encephalitis (brain inflammation).

Annabelle, 32, has to carry her son Niño throughout their travels to and from Manila and their hometown Gumaca, Quezon, every time the eight-year-old boy with an oversized head has a scheduled doctor's appointment. 

With the help of the DSWD, Niño has been seen by specialists at the University of Sto. Tomas in España for his life-saving surgery.

However, we found out of late that Annabelle and Niño, along with her daughter Rose, 10, have to stay overnights at the bus terminals for lack of funds to pay for a hotel overnight stay.

“Pinagtitiyagaan na lang po namin na mamalagi sa Quiapo Church o sa bus terminal kaysa araw-araw kami magpabalik-balik ng probinsya, menus gastos pa po,” said Annabelle, a street food vendor in Gumaca.

She said security guards at the bus terminals have gotten used to having them around and allowing them to remain, especially during rainy days.

Our laws should be sensitive enough to the needs of poor PWDs to be able to grant such benefits to those who need them. For example, they need wheelchairs, transport services, facilities for a night stay, free mobile phone loads, and free meals. 

This quickly raises a red flag, as such a proposal entails massive and resourceful funding. Yet, in the past three years, we have dedicated much of our national budget to government expenditures related to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

But that is what we elected lawmakers for: to develop laws that give genuine public assistance to the disadvantaged.

Our fellow Filipinos who have to live with these extreme hardships need our help, whether from the government or private auspices.

"Sin taxes" from tobacco and alcohol products are likely sources of the needed funding for what we can call the "PWD malasakit funds."

Senators are convinced the unscrupulous onion cartel is behind the artificial "shortage" in onion supply that caused the product's prices to soar uncontrollably.

The lack of supply due to alleged hoarding and the high prices prompted the government to import onion into the country.

The sinister onion cartel has prevailed. Back to normal times, are we?

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. assured Filipinos that while the leadership maintains a high level of diplomacy and honors the old friendship with China, the country's sovereignty shall never be diminished. 

PBBM stands firm in protecting the integrity of Philippine sovereignty in the face of any force that will attempt to violate it.

"Not under my watch," said PBBM.