June 21, 2024

While the country is replete with national and local laws and guided with international laws recognizing and advancing the rights of people with disabilities, there is a need to ensure these are implemented for its intent and impacts to be fully felt by one of the society’s vulnerable sectors.
City Councilor Arthur Allad-iw, chair of the city council committee on labor, employment, and PWDs, said while laws promoting the welfare of PWDs exist, the implementation for its realization should be ensured and said laws should be used in the advocacy on PWD rights and welfare geared towards their inclusion in society.
During the Gender Equity, Disability and Social Inclusion Summit 2023 sponsored by the Civil Service Commission Cordillera recently, the councilor said more pieces of legislation are in fact needed to address the real issues faces by PWDs on the ground.
Among these are laws providing programs and services focused on the provision of primary diagnostic and rehabilitation services and therapy on various disabilities, which should include training, capacitating and providing specialists for various services on disabilities.
He acknowledged the City Health Services Office for improving district health centers and addressing some of these services.
He said there is also a need to improve the provision of special education, since while the city has been providing for it, there is only one public school for special education in the city.
“There is a need to expand public institutions for services to the special children from basic education to higher education. In fact, support to focal persons on special children in the public elementary schools should receive support and budget,” Allad-iw said.
He noted private institutions engaged in special education whose services are laudable, such as the Autism Society Philippines-Baguio, which helps in the rehabilitation of special children through arts and other activities that help these children have self-confidence.
Allad-iw said data gathered on PWDs, which is also a product of the passage of a city ordinance, could be used in identifying and providing livelihood and skills training or capacity building attuned to the abilities and disabilities of PWDs.
He said this is a way for them to become self-reliant and be able to join mainstream society.
The city government is actively pushing for livelihood programs, and has been supportive by exploring livelihood attuned to the PWDs’ capacities and needs, but the councilor said capacity building is urgent, particularly for those who acquired livelihood during the pandemic, so they can be empowered in running their livelihood and improving their products for marketability.
Allad-iw said employment for PWDs based on their qualification should be among the campaign to help them become self-reliant and for them to be proud in joining the mainstream of society but unfortunately discrimination as to their employment persists despite being qualified.
He added PWDs despite their condition and especially during the Covid-19 did not give up earning for a living through their determination to survive and support from the city government. – Hanna C. Lacsamana