“Ikaw ‘to ma’am?” the guard asked as he scrutinized the ID I gave him in exchange for my visitor’s pass to an office building.
Aside from belonging to the vast majority of people whose photos suck in a government ID, he was merely suspicious of the validity of my ID.
“Ako ‘yan, kuya,” I said in jest.
“Hindi naman ikaw ‘yan ma’am eh, wala ka namang disability.”
I laughed at the situation knowing that he meant no malice. The questions were merely coming from a place of curiosity. I am one of those people who has an invisible illness. Getting a PWD (person with disability) card was not really a priority up until I realized how the bills for my meds were easily stacking up. For people like me, getting a PWD card isn’t exactly on the top of our minds, but it’s a huge help when it comes to expenses.
But let’s get some facts straight, who is a PWD?
“PWDs are those with long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others,” according to Republic Act 10754, amending the benefits specified in the Magna Carta for PWDs.
PWDs with the ID are exempt from paying value-added tax (VAT) while also getting a 20 percent discount when purchasing goods.
A PWD ID is what it is: a national ID you can use in any city in the country. But PWDs with the ID are exempt from paying value-added tax (VAT) while also getting a 20 percent discount when purchasing goods. My personal experience with getting a PWD card was pretty painless and smooth, though this might not be the case for everybody else.
Now, here are ways for you to get your ID. Note that this is merely limited to my experience. Numerous other factors could count in the entire process of getting a PWD ID.
The requirements and steps are quite standard. Some cities, however, pose some discrepancies.
FIRST STEP: Have your 1×1 photos taken. In Davao and in Quezon City, they only require two, while in Makati they ask for four.
SECOND STEP: Get your medical abstract from your doctor. This is very important. After all, you don’t just qualify for a PWD ID out of self-diagnosis. It took me about two hours to get my medical abstract because I chose to go to a public psychiatric hospital. If your doctor is in a private hospital, expect it to get done in a lesser amount of time.
THIRD STEP: Get a barangay clearance/certificate of residency from your barangay hall. I was asked to pay for my cedula during this process. You can pay for the cedula in the hall as well. Make sure to get there early; I went to the barangay hall first thing in the morning and it only took me about 15 minutes to get my clearance.
Side note: If you live in a condominium or are renting, they might ask you to get a certificate or a letter from your building admin or landlord before they issue you a barangay clearance. A friend of mine who rents an apartment in Katipunan was asked to do this. A friend from Davao, on the other hand, just had to get a letter from their purok leader before heading to the barangay hall. As we can see, different residency setups may require an additional step or two.
FOURTH STEP: Head to the city hall with your 1×1 photos, medical abstract and barangay clearance. You will be asked to fill out a PWD profile sheet and you should be done by now. Both Makati and Quezon City provide PVC IDs while Davao City has the laminated ones. Aside from your PWD ID, you also get two booklets to fill out every time you buy meds and necessities in the grocery.
Side note: If you reside in Makati, they will require you to present a COMELEC or voter’s ID during the application. This is because PWDs in Makati have certain perks (free movies, discounts, etc.). Other cities like Angeles, San Fernando and Quezon City have these benefits as well for their PWD locals. Davao, however, only reserves this for elderly citizens and does not require a voter’s ID when applying for a PWD card.
FIFTH STEP: Take care of yourself. Please. The only hiccups to this process depend highly on human density during the application. Examples would be if the hospital you’re getting your clinical abstract is processing a lot of patients as well as the traffic of people filing for various certificates in your barangay hall.
If you encounter hiccups along the way, here’s what to do about it:
Incomplete requirements: Don’t lose any of your certificates. To be sure, photocopy them or get an extra copy. My doctor gave me two copies of my medical abstract and I photocopied it anyway. A friend of mine told me when he applied in Quezon City that they asked for photocopied versions of his barangay clearance and his medical abstract.
Denied application: Yes, apparently they deny some applications. Chances are, it has something to do with the medical abstract being shady. When you are in the process of getting your medical abstract, tell your doctor that it is for the purpose of getting a PWD ID. This is to ensure that all details will be included. You also have to get the abstract from a doctor who has an accreditation with a hospital and whose specialization concerns your illness. My medical abstract came from my psychiatrist and not a general medicine doctor.
To check if you qualify for a PWD ID, you may visit this site.
Art by Ninotchka Arreola