So today, after months of procrastination and delays, I finally got my PWD (Persons With Disability) ID Card. And I couldn’t be happier.
I found out – by accident, mind you – several months ago that being a stutterer makes me eligible for a PWD ID Card. I was at Starbucks at SM Southmall for coffee. I was on the phone with someone when I was asked for my order. One of the baristas on duty, Kenny aka My Barista Crush, knows me from my usual branch in BFHomes. Since I was already struggling with my speech and had to focus on the phone conversation, I handed the barista my firearms license card so she can get my name from that. Now, since Kenny knows me already, she knows of my stuttering. What happened next was unexpected.
When I was about to pay for my Americano, I was asked to sign their copy of the receipt. That has never happened before so I got suspicious. I reviewed the receipt. Below the Subtotal says “Handicapped.” I didn’t bother to ask why that was there because my mind did the math already. The barista, under Kenny’s advisement, must have thought that I mistakenly grabbed from my wallet my firearm’s license card from instead of a PWD card.
I got home and did research on handicap laws in the Philippines. Do take note that this was months before I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression. I learned that stuttering, among other vocal disabilities, is considered as a handicap under Philippine laws. I also learned that mental issues are also considered as such. I even joked to my friends that I should get one also for my mental instability.
Anyway, after that, I decided to get one. I got a PWD ID card form from my city’s City Hall. Did more research online. Even asked around on local stuttering groups about it. I found out that the tests required for the medical certificate to confirm stuttering can be quite expensive. I’d have to see a neurologist and do brain scans. So I put that plan on hold.
About two weeks after I started seeing a shrink for my depression, some friends and I had dinner out, and among the topics that were brought up was the PWD ID Card of a friend of a friend. Said friend of a friend suffers from major anxiety and got a card. That got me thinking that since I was already seeing a shrink for depression and anxiety, I might as well ask the doctor for a medical certificate.
My next session came up and I told my doctor about my previous plan to get a PWD ID Card for my stuttering. I also asked her if what I’m seeing her for is eligible for the card. She confirmed it and wrote me a medical certificate stating that I was being treated for depression, anxiety, and stuttering!
It took me awhile to work on everything. I mean, it only took me a day to get the requirements (sans medical certificate) and the card. But since I get my ass out of the house after noon, it took me two days. I even had an idiotic move yesterday when I started running everything. I was told that to get a Barangay Clearance, I’d need a Cedula. When I filled up the Cedula, I wrote down my annual “salary.” I ended up paying P205 when I didn’t really need to. Most people only leave it blank and pay 6 bucks. In the end, the Cedula wasn’t needed. Oh well. Haha!
I had yesterday to testdrive the PWD ID card. Caloi and I went to Alabang Town Center to hang a bit. I bought tickets for the Dama 3D Anniversary concert. A VIP ticket costs P2,500. I got it for P2,060! Same with the food I bought. I got 20% off!
Look, I know what you might be thinking. “You’re happy because you’re disabled?” Am I happy that my brain is the way it is? Of course not. No. I’d rather live a normal life where I can function properly. But it is what it is. I’ve long since accepted that I am a stutterer. I’ve long since accepted that, while the depression diagnosis is recent, something is wrong with me. That I’ve been different all my life. That I’m broken. A weirdo. A freak. That I think differently than most people.
With my stuttering and mental illnesses come a lot of disadvantages. I can’t function properly. I can’t speak like normal people do, and just imagine all the issues one has when one can’t speak normally. I get freaked out by the littlest of things. I drown in my own thoughts, shutting the rest of the world out.
But as I said, “it is what it is.” We are different. We are not normal. People like me are lucky that there are laws in place to protect us from ridicule and bias. That, despite our limitations and handicaps (whether it’s seen or not,) we still get benefits.
If you’re from the Philippines and are interested in getting a PWD ID Card, you can get the form at the DSWD Office located in your city’s City Hall. The requirements are:
(Present Original & Photocopy)
1. Medical Certificate / Clinical Abstract
2. Barangay Certification/Clearance (Purpose: Residency)
3. Three pieces 1×1 ID Pictures
4. One piece Passport Size Picture
5. Duly Accomplished Form
You can read more about the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (RA 9442) here.