DETAINED Sen. Leila de Lima on Saturday urged the government to exhaust all efforts in providing equal protection under the law for persons with disabilities (PWDs) to ensure a more dignified life for them free from abuse and discrimination.
De Lima, who is at the Philippine National Police custodial facility in Camp Crame, Quezon City on drug-related charges, said national agencies and local officials should work together to increase public awareness in every aspect of the PWDs’ political, social, economic and cultural life.
“There will never be an acceptable excuse or reason for PWDs to be neglected, abused or sidelined. As a mother and grandmother of children with autism, advocating for the well-being of PWDs holds a special place in my heart,” she added.
“Hindi awa ang kailangan nila kundi ang malalim na pag-unawa sa kanilang sitwasyon, kapansanan, at mga hamong pinagdadaanan. Kailangan nila ng kaagapay mula sa ating lahat, ang patas nating pagtingin at paggabay para makamit nila ang normal at marangal na pamumuhay (They do not need pity, but understanding for their situation, handicaps and the challenges they’re going through. They need assistance from all of us, equal understanding and guidance in order to have a normal and dignified living),” the senator said.
De Lima made the remark during this year’s observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.
The annual observance of the occasion was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3.
As part of her effort to ensure that the plight of PWDs are improved, de Lima reintroduced Senate Bill 188, or the “National Commission for Disability Affairs (NCDA) Bill,” in the 18th Congress, transforming the NCDA into a full-blown commission to address the gaps in promoting the rights of PWDs.
“We envision the Commission to be the lead policy-making, planning, monitoring and coordinating body that will develop, formulate and implement programs for the prevention and rehabilitation of disabilities,” she said.
SB 188 underscores the role of the NCDA as the primary agency responsible for the implementation of policies aimed at fulfilling the rights of the PWD sector.
The senator also filed in the 18th Congress SB 855, referred to as “Integrating Persons with Autism and other Development Disabilities Act,” establishing institutional and social mechanisms to support persons with development disabilities and their families.
The measure seeks, among others, to conduct a comprehensive training program for health providers all over the country to help PWDs and their families cope with their condition and turn them into productive members of society
With shared commitment and unwavering solidarity, de Lima said she believed that the government and the Filipino public could “break the barriers that restrict our countrymen, especially the marginalized, in making meaningful contributions to society.”