DPWH enforces barrier-free environment for people with disabilities in Philippines

Asia-Pacific, May 19 2011

MAASIN CITY, Southern Leyte:  “A barrier-free environment will enable persons with disabilities to have access in any public buildings and establishments and such other places mentioned in Batas Pambansa bilang 344,” said Architect Noel Baleña from Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) Regional Office-8 during the provincial forum for people with disabilities.

Batas Pambansa Bilang 344, also known as the Accessibility Law aims to enhance the mobility of disabled persons by requiring certain buildings, establishments, public utilities to install facilities such as handrails, ramps, walkways, toilet or wash room and other devices for PWDs, Baleña in his discussion held Wednesday, May 18.

“The DPWH throughout Eastern Visayas region already conducted seminars for Municipal Engineers and other concerned personnel advocating the Accessibility Law for people with disabilities,” Baleña bared.

The law stated that the national and local government shall allocate funds for the provision of architectural facilities or any structural features for persons with disabilities in government buildings and other facilities.

Baleña disclosed that DPWH is providing specifications for a barrier-free facility and accessibility features in accordance with the rules and regualtions of the Batas Pambansa Bilang 344.

“There should also be enough space and doors given to PWDs, including the height of handrail, curb height at ramp, and its dimensions, preferred stairways , among other facilities defined to ensure a barrier-free environment for the PWDs,” he added.

The owner or operator of the building, establishhment or any structure, the contractor, the architect , the engineer and the building official or other public official in-charge with the issuance of the building permit, registration, or any certification in the inspection of the building are deemed liable for any violation of the Accessibility Law, the source said during the day-activity held at Sea Shore Inn, Sogod, this province inititated by the National Council for Disability Affairs.

Source: http://www.pia.gov.ph

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