DESPITE of the existence of the Accessibility Law and other laws intended for persons with disabilities many establishments are still considered not PWD friendly, and the worst part is majority of government offices are among them.
This was disclosed by Sen. Sonny Angara as he called for the strict compliance with laws empowering persons with disabilities (PWDs) such as the Accessibility Law or the Batas Pambansa (BP) 344, as mandated by the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons or Republic Act No. (RA) 7277.
Angara cited the recent report from the National Council for Disability Affairs, which found that out of the 1,200 local government agencies that was inspected nationwide, only 40 passed the criteria set for the minimum requirement for accessibility law.
The Senator lamented that government offices that are supposed to serve as models for the private sector in the implementation of the Accessibility Law, are the ones violating the law.
Besides BP 344, other accessibility policies for PWDs include RA 10366 which ensures that voting precincts are accessible to PWDs, and RA 10524 which mandates all government agencies and offices to reserve at least 1.0 percent of all positions for PWDs.
“It’s sad to hear that there are a lot of facilities and establishments, and even government offices, here in the country that are still not accessible to PWDs—a clear violation of BP 344,” said Angara.
“We’re a nation of laws, but we’re also a nation of laws flouted or not followed with impunity,” he said.
“Maybe many in our government are not aware that there is such a law,” Angara added.
The Senator also called on all establishments to comply with the laws for PWDs, particularly those that provides benefits to the disabled like the 20-percent discount for PWDs on land, air, sea transportation, food and medicines, medical and dental services, hotels, sports and other recreational centers; 5.0-percent discount on groceries and basic commodities; setting up priority and express lanes; and priority access to government-mandated assistance projects, scholarship and livelihood opportunities.
He also reminded all PWDs to avail of the benefits and privileges, by applying for a PWD ID card at his or her city or the municipality’s respective PWD Affairs Office.
Meanwhile, Angara also called for the approval of a bill that seeks to establish inclusive education learning resource centers for children and youth with special needs in all public schools divisions across the country.