PHILIPPINE Constitution Association (Philconsa) president and Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) president Martin Romualdez yesterday filed his certificate of candidacy (CoC) for congressman of the First District of Leyte to continue his “malasakit” (compassion) advocacy in public service.
“Today is the beginning of the big battle. I will seek people’s trust and support once again for me to carry and fulfill my platforms and programs in Congress. Let the unity begin here in Tacloban City like what we did during Yolanda and let us continue the malasakit to public service,” said Romualdez, a former House Independent Bloc leader and a three-term Leyte congressman, who is running under a platform anchored on compassionate governance.
The beyond reproach integrity, dedication, capability and fiercely independent-minded attitude of Romualdez in serving the Filipino people especially during the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda has prompted his supporters and political leaders to push for his return to the House of Representatives.
Because of his dedication, excellent and transparent governance, Romualdez ran unopposed in the 2013 congressional poll in the first district of Leyte for his third and last term as congressman. It was in the 16th Congress where he was the House Independent Bloc leader.
Romualdez was accompanied by his wife, incumbent Leyte Rep. Yedda Marie K. Romualdez, who will run for Tingog Sinirangan Party List group, when he filed his CoC at the provincial office of the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Tacloban City. He has been working very hard for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Yolanda-hit areas amid the snail-paced action and assistance of the previous government.
His proposal last 16th Congress to create a separate department for disasters that was refiled by his wife and other lawmakers was approved on third and final reading this 17th Congress by the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Romualdez is the principal author of the compassionate Republic Act (RA) No. 10754 or An Act Expanding the Benefits and Privileges of Persons with Disabilities that exempts PWDs from 12-percent value added tax (VAT).
His compassionate law exempts more than 1.5 million PWDs from the payment of VAT on certain goods and services.
The law that stemmed from Romualdez’s House Bill (HB) No. 1039 which amends RA No. 7277, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability”, exempts PWDs from the 12-percent VAT payment, as amended by RA No. 9442, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, which gave the PWDs the 20-percent discount.
“This is an equalizing measure because this will accord PWDs exactly the same privilege enjoyed by senior citizens who are exempted from the VAT,” said Romualdez.
Like senior citizens, PWDs are now eligible for a 20-percent discount on medical and dental services; purchase of medicines in all drugstores; public railway, skyway and bus fares; admission fees charged by theaters, cinema houses, concert halls, circuses, carnivals and other places of culture, leisure and amusement; and all services in hotels and similar lodging establishments, restaurants, recreation centers, funeral and burial expenses.
The Romualdez law on PWD also gives the relatives, up to the fourth civil degree of consanguinity or affinity, taking care of handicapped to claim a tax deduction of P25,000 in their income tax.