Always remember: HIV is not a disabling condition. Self-empowerment is  one of the first steps towards fully accepting oneself.

In the Philippines, only some DSWD units accept HIV-positive status as a disability. It’s usually a case-to-case basis. Some social case workers will have to validate the condition of the person before accepting his/her application for PWD (such as HIV clinical stage, etc.), but for many cases, it is not accepted.

In my case, my DSWD local unit is HIV-friendly. So, why do some units accept it as a disability? Answer: Cost of hospitalization and life-long treatment. Technically, any medical condition that one will bear for the rest of their lives may be classified as a disability.

If the local DSWD unit (or NCDA) is HIV-friendly, here are things one needs to know:

General requirements:

1. Barangay clearance

2. Medical Certificate/Clinical Abstract (in a PLHIV’s case, a “reactive” confirmatory test result)

3. 1×1 pic

4. photocopy of valid ID

There may be additional requirements, depending on the locality. Requirements are submitted to the resident’s local DSWD unit, along with a form that has to be filled out. PLHIVs are tagged as persons with psychosocial disability. I was able to get my ID and purchase booklet a week after submitting documents. These two are needed in order for a PWD to enjoy the discounts/privileges. Most of the time, a PWD ID suffices.

Some privileges (for their own/exclusive enjoyment):

a. VAT-exemption + 20% discount on food in restaurants. Say in case of bucket meals or group meals, sometimes a certain fixed or proportional amount may be discounted.

b. VAT-exemption + 20% discount on accommodation and all services in hotels and other lodging establishments.

c. 20% discount at cinema houses and theaters (ex. film showing) , recreation and amusement (ex. Enchanted Kingdom, Redbox, Timezone), or admission fees in general. Those who are Makati City residents and got their PWD ID from Makati are entitled to FREE movies up to a certain amount per week, but usually not applicable on the first week of showing.

d. 20% discount on transportation fares (jeepney, train, bus, TNVS such as Uber and Grab, domestic air travel, sea travel).

e. VAT-exemption + 20% discount on medicines in all drugstores, whether generic or branded.

f. VAT-exemption + 20% discount on medical fees, diagnostic and laboratory fees, professional fees, and dental fees. Some of these are subject to decisions made by Philhealth and DOH.

g. A special lane/area in all commercial and government establishments, transportation boarding, et cetera. In absence thereof, they should be prioritized.
***Be sensitive enough to give this privilege only to genuine disabilities. Genuine disabilities describe blind, deaf, paralyzed, or mute.

h. 5% discount on basic necessities, namely: rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh eggs, fresh and processed milk, infant formulas, fresh vegetables, root crops, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, detergents, firewood, charcoal, and candle.

i. 5% discount on prime commodities, namely: fresh fruits, flour, dried, processed and canned pork, beef and poultry, meat, dairy products not falling under basic necessities; noodles, onions, garlic, herbicides, poultry, swine and cattle feeds, veterinary products for poultry, swine and cattle, paper, school supplies, nipa shingle, ply board, construction nails, batteries, electrical supplies, light bulbs, steel wire, and diaper.

j. exemption from the color coding scheme implemented by MMDA. This is not automatic. A PWD request letter along with a medical certificate (and an ORCR if a certain vehicle will be registered/associated with the PWD) must be submitted to the MMDA addressed to its chairman, explaining why the person is requesting for exemption.


Note: The author of this post has a genuine disability.

Last updated on 14 May 2017

About gpositivelife

Email me on gpositivelife(at) or message on twitter @GPositivelife
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