Asia-Pacific, News Nov 20, 2014
ILOILO CITY, PHILIPPINES: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD)-6 Regional Director Evelyn Macapobre urged tourism stakeholders to ensure barrier-free tourist destinations for persons with disabilities.
In the Regional Forum on Accessible Tourism held Monday at Hotel Del Rio here, Macapobre said that persons with disabilities should also get what’s due them in tourism areas and establishments.
“They deserve to also enjoy nature’s beauty. Things like access ramps or elevators for those who are unable to walk and booklets or reading materials that are in Braille for the visually challenged should be available,” she said.
She said that it would be interesting to see tourist spot employees who are able to use the sign language for the hearing and speech impaired.
She also said that help desks for persons with disabilities , accessible seats in vehicles, restaurants and other places of interest are things that can make the lives of persons with disabilities easier and more enjoyable.
Likewise, the presence of people who are trained to handle different kinds of persons with disabilities can ease the stress on their end.
The DSWD official called on local government units and the private sector to work together in the implementation of laws for persons with disabilities , which include Republic Act (RA) 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons; RA 9442 which is an amendment of RA 7277; and the Batas Pambansa (BP) 344 or the Accessibility Law.
As per data from DSWD-6, there are 87,519 recorded persons with disabilities in Western Visayas, as of December 2010. Of the figure, 42,990 are males while 44,529 are females.
The Regional Forum on Accessible Tourism was spearheaded by the Department of Tourism (DOT) Office of Tourism Standards and Regulations, DOT Central Office, DOT-6 and in partnership with the National Council on Disability Affairs.