PDAO head pushes for strict implementation of Accessibility Law PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 24 July 2016 14:49

By ALMA TINGCANG

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay — In support to the celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, the Philippine Information Agency recently hosted a media forum to promote  awareness on the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

The theme, “Karapatan ng May Kapansanan, Isakatuparan…Now na!” focuses on the realization of the fundamental freedom and rights of PWDs as provided for in existing international mandates and national law.

Guests during the forum were Mrs. Sally Lao and Ms. Imelda Caspillo from the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, and Mr. Wenifredo Almario, head of the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO).

“In Region 9, we are the second municipality to establish a PDAO, next to  Roxas, Zamboanga del Norte. Among the cities, Dapitan comes first and Zamboanga City has also created one,” Almario informed the media.

He said DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2010 – 103 provides for the establishment of Persons with Disability Affairs Office  in every province, city and municipality Pursuant to RA 10070.

According to Almario, the functions of PDAO are: to formulate and implement policies, plans and programs that promote the welfare of PWDs in coordination with concerned national and local government agencies; and coordinate the implementation of Batas Pambansa 344 otherwise known as the Accessibility Law, among others.

BP 344 is an act to enhance the mobility of disabled persons by requiring certain buildings, institutions, establishments  and public utilities to install facilities and other devices.

He observed that there is more to be done for the strict compliance of BP 344 in the locality as some establishments and infrastructure are not PWD-friendly. He called on the media to support this advocacy.

However, he noted that support for PWDs have relatively increased for the past year. With a budget of P942,000 in 2015 from LGU Ipil, it has now reached P1.078 million, citing the local government for its all-out support to PWDs.

To date, there are 728 recorded PWDs  in Ipil. “But I believe there is more, they are just ashamed. I encourage my fellow PWDs to come out and not be ashamed of our disability. There are several programs and activities of the government that we can avail, as well as training and employment opportunities,” Almario urged. (ALT-PIA9/Zamboanga Sibugay)