‘Nat’l registry needed to address PWDs’ needs’

By Kathy M. Villalon

In order for the government and the private sector to truly address the needs of persons with disabilities (PWDs), there is a need to implement a national registry for this sector.
Michael Barredo, first nominee for the Pilipinos
with Disabilities (PWD), Inc. Partylist with representatives
of varied PWD groups in Iloilo.

“It is not enough that we know how many Filipinos have disabilities. It is also important to know the different kinds of disabilities so that the proper programs and services can be designed for the sector,” said Michael Barredo, first nominee for the Pilipinos with Disabilities (PWD), Inc. Partylist.

Barredo was in Iloilo City yesterday and met with representatives of different organizations and agencies related to the PWD sector.

“For example, blindness has three degrees. Cerebral palsy has eight levels. For physical disabilities, there are those who are paralyzed, amputees, with spinal cord injuries and other categories. Even senior citizens suffer disabilities because of their age,” Barredo said.

“Also, we need to provide incentives for those who take care of children with Down Syndrome and/or autism. So, if we need to make a law for this, we need a database,” he added.

The establishment of a national registry is provided for under Republic Act 7277, IRR Rule IV, Section 3, Heading A, Sec. 1.1.3.

So that there is close coordination with PWDs in their respective areas, Barredo also urges for the full implementation of Republic Act 10070 which calls for the establishment of Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in every city and municipality in the country.

The PDAO will ensure PWDs’ active participation in community life and governance and facilitate their mainstreaming back to society.

Sadly, he said, there are just a few PDAOs in the country’s 1,800 municipalities.
Meanwhile, Iloilo PDAO head Blesilda Mabilog, who attended the gathering, admitted that they do not have a complete registration of the city’s PWDs yet so they are now visiting every barangay to complete the list.

Citing that PWDs do not clamor for special treatment but rather for equal opportunities, Barredo also calls for the implementation of Executive Order 417 “in order to free PWDs from bondage of poverty, neglect and despair.”
He urges “all government agencies, even LGUs to emulate compliance started by the Department of Education to grant whenever possible organizations of PWDs the privilege to supply 10 percent of the agency’s annual requirements for manpower services as well as material items.”

In Iloilo City, the Association of Disabled Persons of Iloilo, Inc. Multi-Purpose Cooperative was tapped by the DepEd to make chairs and tables for their schools.
Barredo also “enjoins the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to set aside a budget for PWDs’ technical education and training in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) to equip them with skills needed to find good jobs.”

He also wants PWDs to be given technological advice so that they can engage in livelihood activities.
He also noted that most laws pertaining to PWDs were crafted two or three decades ago, thus there is a need to amend some of their provisions in order for them to suit the present time.

“Why are our existing laws not fully implemented? We have to revisit them and see what needs to be done. What provisions shall we change? Are there people we need to put behind bars? Maybe we need to increase penalty clauses, among others,” Barredo said.

These laws are RA 7277, RA 9442, RA 10070, BP 344, EO 417, among others.
He added that while most of these laws have medical and social approaches, there is a need for rights-based approach, too.

So, to hasten the implementation of laws that will benefit the PWD sector, we should also have a say in crafting them, Barredo said, explaining the existence of their partylist.

Based on the 2000 census, Barredo said there are 10 million Filipino PWDs.* (The News Today, March 12, 2013)

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