Restaurant may face P1.2M in damages for exposing PWD cards online

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A local restaurant serving Hong Kong cuisine could be liable for a minimum of P1.2 million in damages after it exposed in social media the PWD (person with disability) cards of six members of a family who tried to avail of their PWD discount.   

This is according to lawyer Francis Acero, former chief of the complaints division of the National Privacy Commission (NPC), who said in a Facebook post that HK Little Kitchen committed “malicious disclosure” when it unduly posted the IDs of the PWDs in social media.

Under Section 31 of the Data Privacy Act, malicious disclosure is committed when a company or employee discloses a personal sensitive information with malice or in bad faith. It is punishable by imprisonment and fine.

The post of HK Little Kitchen that circulated in social media contained a photo six PWD cards from a single household – five with visual disabilities and one with a psychosocial disability. The PWD cards were said to have been presented by a household help to the restaurant to avail of the 20% discount in accordance with Republic Act No. 10754.

The restaurant did not honor the IDs as the card owners were not present, according to a Facebook post of UP Diliman faculty member Ivy Mendoza-Yulo. After declining to give the discount, HK Little Kitchen proceeded to post the PWD cards with blurred images of its owners but with all the sensitive information. This triggered a deluge of hate messages directed against the family members.

As the post went viral, former senator JV Ejercito remarked in a now-deleted tweet that the PWD card holders were “cheaters and opportunists.” He then took down the post but stressed in another tweet that he was just making the “feelings on abuse of PWD cards be known”. 

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced that it has launched an official investigation pertaining to the incident.

“Abuse of privilege in any law ruins the spirit behind it. Such discount is solely meant for actual persons with disability. DTI, through the Fair Trade Enforcement Bureau (FTEB), is currently investigating the matter,” DTI secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement. “Such action gives undue discrimination to people who actually have disabilities that we do not immediately see.”

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