NCDA and JICA planning to promote physical and social accessibility in rural areas

Asia-Pacific, September 15 2011

Iloilo City, Philippines: The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are planning to expand the Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) Project in Western Visayas to further promote physical and social accessibility in rural areas.

NCDA Planning Officer III Delfina Baquir said they target to implement the project in three other local government units in the region belonging to the 4th, 5th and 6th class category.

“This is open to rural LGUs like the town of New Lucena, Iloilo that are willing and committed to adopt the project including providing counterpart fund for the implementation of project activities,” said Baquir.

Baquir was here in Iloilo City, September 13 for the Universal Design (UD) Seminar initiated by NCDA and JICA that intends to update relevant stakeholders in the region and representatives from Opol, Misamis Oriental on the NHE project expansion and application.

Aside from New Lucena, the other pioneering municipality of the NHE project in the country is Opol, Misamis Oriental. The project was implemented in these municipalities starting October 2008 and is expected to end on September 2012.

The project is composed of five outputs that involve implementing mechanism, profiling, capacity development, advocacy and networking.

Baquir said interested local government units have until December 2011 to submit their application to the screening committee under the Regional Council for Disability Affairs in Western Visayas.

The half-day activity also provided the more than one hundred participants with insightful NHE experiences and the concept or practice of UD which is being promoted by the NHE project in creating barrier-free environment.

Mayor Liezel Seville updated participants on the NHE project implementation in New Lucena and JICA’s Short-term expert Dr Yoshihiko Kawauchi discussed the topic on Universal Design: Up-to-date Information and Best Practices of Japan.

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

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