Many government offices in Philippines still not friendly to differently abled

Many government offices in Philippines still not friendly to differently abled
File photo of Sen. Sonny Angara.

MANILA, Philippines-Many government offices have failed to comply with the laws requiring them to provide all possible facilities for differently-abled persons, according to Sen. Sonny Angara.

Citing a report by the National Council on Disability Affairs, Angara said that only 40 out of 1,200 local government agencies screened met the minimum requirements as stated in Batas Pambansa Blg.

344, otherwise known as the Accessibility Law.

"We're a nation of laws, but we're also a nation of laws flouted or not followed with impunity.

Let's start with making people aware that there are such laws for PWDs (persons with disabilities) that need to be followed," he said.

Under the Accessibility Law, public and private buildings, including schools, airports, shopping and recreation centres are required to have features such as sidewalks, ramps and railings to enhance the mobility of differently-abled persons.

The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons also requires the state to ensure the attainment of a barrier-free environment to allow PWDs access to public and private buildings.

The government is required to allocate funds for the provision of these architectural and structural features in government buildings and facilities.

The law also requires the Department of Social Welfare and Development to create a programme to assist marginalised differently-abled persons in using public transport facilities.

Other laws require that voting precincts be accessible to the differently-abled, and that all government agencies and offices reserve at least one per cent of all positions for them.

They are entitled to priority access to government-mandated assistance projects and scholarship and livelihood opportunities.

They also get a 20-per cent discount on land, air and sea transportation, food and medicines, medical and dental services, and hotels, sports and other recreational centres.

They get a five-per cent discount on groceries and basic commodities.

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