Filipinos with disabilities urged to assert their rights
Asia-Pacific, Misc., News, July 19 2017
DAVAO CITY: Persons with disabilities should assert their rights to fight discrimination. In commemorating the 39th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, Officer-in-charge of Davao City Persons with Disability (PWD) Affairs Office, Bong Comiling urged his fellow PWDs learn their rights and privileges and fight for them to prevent discrimination.
“When we say to carry out and fight, one needs to assert his or her rights that are provided under R.A. 9442,” Bong Comiling said in a press conference held at the SM City Davao on Monday.
“Do not be silent. Speak about your rights. Tell them you will enjoy your rights,” Comiling said.
Comiling said persons with disabilities still face a lot of problems in terms of the implementation of the rules under Republic Act 9442 or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and Other Purposes” including the “accessibility law.”
Under R.A. 9442, at least 20 percent discount shall be given to persons with disabilities from hotel establishments, restaurants and recreation centers, purchase of medicines, dental and medical services, transportation fare and others. The law shall also protect persons with disabilities from public ridicule and abusive statements and anyone who violates it shall be penalized.
The accessibility law, on the other hand, includes the requirement of barrier-free environment on public and private establishments, mobility, and persons with disabilities access to public transport facilities.
In 2015, Comiling said 80 percent of the government-owned buildings here is not compliant to the accessibility law.
Comiling cited that most of the sidewalks here in the city are not accessible for those who are on wheelchairs and some establishments put on ramps but are on with wrong measures.
“Atong mga sidewalks, daghan kaayog di maagian og wheelchair. Naa sa’y uban mag butang og rampa pero 45 degrees. Bisan pag walay kapansanan ang moagi, sigurado gyud na maglisod og saka. Mao na’y reality diha. Gabutang-butang og rampa pero wala nag comply sa required measure,” (Most of our sidewalks are not accessible to people who are on wheelchairs. Some (establishments) put on ramps but measure only 45 degrees. Even those who have no disabilities will surely have difficulty to climb. That is the reality. They put on ramps but do not have the right measurement) Comiling said.
Comiling emphasized that those who are on wheelchairs are not the only ones who need access to communication and facilities but as well as those who are blind, deaf, and also the senior citizens.
Jonathan Espaňol, a representative of the blind, said some manholes in establishments and highways should be covered to prevent accidents for people who are blind or have low vision.
Espaňol also said it is important for establishments to have voice-overs on elevators or “talking elevators” for the blind people to know and be assisted on what floors they are in.
“Regarding aning voice over kailangan gyud pud ni sa ubang establishments, mga hotel, nga access pud na sa amoa. Importante nga mabutangan og voice over ng elevators para makahibalo mi na unsa nami na floor (Regarding the voice-over, this is need for some establishments, such as hotels to make it accessible for us. It’s important that elevators are put up with voice over so that we would know what floor are we in),” Espaňol said.
Department of Social Welfare and Development Persons with Disabilities Social Worker Arris Medrano scored the lack of strict implementation for persons with disabilities law.
The NDPR Week is held betweenJuly 17-23. On July 19, Davao region will be having a regional celebration wherein at least 800 participants are expected to attend.