DPWH to strictly enforce Accessibility Law in Philippines
Asia-Pacific, March 9 2011
MANILA, Philippines, Mar 09: Saying it is not just a matter of implementing the law but also consideration for disabled people, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has ordered the strict compliance to the special law on disabled persons which allows them easy access to government and private buildings.
In a recent report, the Commission on Human Rights has recently lamented that the Accessibility Law or Batas Pambansa 344, has been largely ignored by many construction firms, denying disabled people from easily entering or accessing many buildings.
“While the Accessibility Law has been in existence for 27 years, implementation of this law remains inadequate if not manifestly scarce,” the CHR pointed out.
At the same time, the commission reminded that the government that when the Philippines ratified the International Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it had bound itself to implement its provisions.
To comply with this, Singson has ordered all city and municipal building officials to strictly implement the provision of BP 344 and to make sure that all permits and certificates of building occupancy comply with the law before these were approved.
Singson also directed Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) regional directors to evaluate plans and building designs and determine if these conform with the Accessibility Law.
“I will hold all DPWH regional directors responsible for any infraction or violation relative to this directive,” he said.
The DPWH is conducting comprehensive audits of all government buildings and sport centers in connection with BP 344.
Regional directors must submit corresponding budgetary requirements for the compliance of the law in all government buildings.
The Accessibility Law, among others, requires the construction of ramps, sidewalks, railings and similar structures to provide disabled people easy access to buildings.