I am working as a branch manager of a grocery chain. I was recently tasked by the president of the company to oversee the construction of the new parking facility. One of the architects informed me that the construction of the parking facility should include a special pathway for the disabled persons such as those using a wheelchair. Because of this, I’d like to confirm if there is indeed a law requiring the construction of such facilities. Thank you for your attention and time.
There is indeed a law requiring the installation and incorporation of architectural facilities and structural features in buildings to provide access and mobility to disabled persons. This law is Batas Pambansa (B.P.) No. 344 known as An Act To Enhance The Mobility Of Disabled Persons By Requiring Certain Building Institutions, Establishments And Public Utilities To Install Facilities and Other Devices.
The purpose of this law, through its implementing rules and regulations, is to provide the minimum requirements and standards to make buildings, facilities, and utilities, for public use accessible to disabled persons (Sec. 1, Rule I, IRR of B.P. 344).
According to this law:
“xxx no license or permit for the construction, repair or renovation of public and private buildings for public use. Educational institutions, airports, sports and recreation centers and complexes, shopping centers or establishments, public parking places, work-places, public utilities, shall be granted or issued unless the owner or operator thereof shall install and incorporate in such building, establishment, institution or public utility, such architectural facilities or structural features as shall reasonably enhance the mobility of disabled persons such as sidewalks, ramps, railings and the like.xxx”
The implementing rules and regulations of this law provide in detail the specific architectural design requirements and application of barrier-free facilities and features in buildings for disabled persons. This includes, among others, the installation of ramps, handrails, parking areas, including the proper height in the electrical switches and the installation of proper signages, all of which are designed to enhance and assist the mobility of disabled persons.
Considering the technicalities in the measurement and specific features of such facilities for the disabled persons as provided in the implementing rules and regulations of BP No. 344, it is best that you consult and coordinate with your architect to guide you in complying with these legal structural requirements in the construction of your company’s parking facility.
Lastly, it is important to note that anyone who violates this law and fail to comply with these requirements can be held criminally liable with a corresponding penalty of a fine ranging from P50,000 to P200,000 and/or imprisonment with a period of six months to six years depending on the frequency and nature of offense. (Sec. 2, Rule V, Ibid.)
Again, we find it necessary to mention that this opinion is solely based on the facts you have narrated and our appreciation of the same. The opinion may vary when the facts are changed or elaborated.
We hope that we were able to enlighten you on the matter.
Editor’s note: Dear PAO is a daily column of the Public Attorney’s Office. Questions for Chief Acosta may be sent to email@example.com