A family tries to use six PWD cards to order food from a QC restaurant—and gets cyberbullied 2
When their driver tried to pickup the meals, the restaurant refused to give them the PWD discounts as the cardholders weren’t there. Photo from Freepik
Food & Drink

A family tries to use six PWD cards to order food from a QC restaurant—and gets cyberbullied

Are they gaming the system, or has cancel culture gone too far? BY JACS T. SAMPAYAN
ANCX | Jun 24 2020

Privilege is a frequent topic of heated discussion in the time of COVID-19: who has it, are they using it “right,” and how much of a humongous tool do you sound like if you don’t have yours checked.

While the third question is a particularly popular tendency of many in social media, it is the first two that come into play in viral posts and tweets that involved the Quezon City establishment HK Little Kitchen and a family with PWD cards who intended to use them. The latter’s side of the story was shared by a friend of the family in a Facebook post.

As the story went, the PWD family sent their driver last week to the restaurant to buy food as the mom and her kids were supposedly busy with the orders of an ube pan de sal business they started over the lockdown. The driver brought along with him the PWD cards of the family members who were owners of the card: there were six in total, five due to visual impairments and one with psychosocial disability. 

But the driver called the mom later on to say that HK Little Kitchen, as a rule, cannot give the discount since the cardholders weren’t present. The mom then asked to speak to restaurant staff to try to reason out why they couldn’t be there in person—because of the lockdown. The mom eventually relented after some discussion and told the driver to pay in full.

Soon after the transaction was completed, however, a photo of the family’s PWD cards—their photos and first names blurred but their surnames (Chong) and disability clearly seen—was allegedly sent to a Viber group by HK Little Kitchen’s owner. The message supposedly went along the lines of the owner’s staff being brave enough to refuse to give discount despite allegedly receiving threats.

That Viber post grew wings and made the rounds of the internet, enraging many to the point they were calling them (in the words of the family friend) “hurtful names and floating ugly rumors and harsh accusations” against the family. Some questioned even the validity of their PWD cards—including former Senator JV Ejercito— who tweeted the viral photo himself. Several came to the family defense and engaged with Ejercito, pointing out that this was cyberbullying in itself.

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The former lawmaker maintained that this case of gaming the system is punishing the business which is trying to survive, and also the government. Ejercito has since deleted the post, and somewhat spoke with finality in a tweet yesterday. “Received calls regarding my post on Chong Family having PWD cards. They have been subject to social media and cyber bullying,” the tweet reads. “We have made our feelings on abuse of PWD cards be known already. No intention for them to be subject to this.”

Some have pointed out that sharing the viral photo goes against the Data Privacy Act, Section 31 of which states:

Malicious Disclosure. – Any personal information controller or personal information processor or any of its officials, employees or agents, who, with malice or in bad faith, discloses unwarranted or false information relative to any personal information or personal sensitive information obtained by him or her, shall be subject to imprisonment ranging from one (1) year and six (6) months to five (5) years and a fine of not less than Five hundred thousand pesos (PHP 500,000) but not more than One million pesos (PHP 1,000,000).

As we have seen of late, discussions about the tricky balance between helping out the struggling dining industry and giving people what the law has mandated they deserve are long and impassioned.

Whether this recent matter will blow away, or if serious legal action will be taken is anyone’s guess. A question worth exploring is the limits of cancel culture, or how easily tweets and Viber posts might make you sound like a humongous, self-righteous tool. But more importantly, we really need to talk about the rules that govern the issuance of PWD cards and the limitations of its use.