Press Release
January 25, 2015


Senator Sonny Angara has called for the strict compliance with laws empowering persons with disabilities (PWDs) such as the Accessibility Law or the Batas Pambansa 344, as mandated by the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (RA 7277).

"It's sad to hear that there are a lot of facilities and establishments, and even government offices, here in the country that are still not accessible to PWDs--a clear violation of BP 344," said Angara during the National Forum on Sustainable Development for PWDs where he was keynote speaker last week.

"Maybe many in our government are not aware that there is such a 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 that need to be followed," he added.

According to a recent report from the National Council for Disability Affairs, out of 1,200 local government agencies that was screened nationwide, only 40 passed the criteria set for the minimum requirement for accessibility law.

Aside from BP 344, other accessibility policies for PWDs include RA 10366 which ensures that voting precincts are accessible to PWDs, and RA 10524 which mandates all government agencies and offices to reserve at least one percent of all positions for PWDs.

Meanwhile, RA 9442 provides for a 20-percent discount for PWDs on land, air, sea transportation, food and medicines, medical and dental services, hotels, sports and other recreational centers; a 5-percent discount on groceries and basic commodities; priority and express lanes in all commercial and government establishments; and, priority access to government-mandated assistance projects, scholarship and livelihood opportunities.

To avail of these benefits and privileges, one must apply for a PWD ID at his/her city or municipality's respective PWD Affairs Office.

Angara, a known advocate of educational reforms, has also filed a bill that seeks to establish inclusive education learning resource centers for children and youth with special needs in all public schools divisions across the country.

The senator cited a report from Alternative Budget Initiative which shows that out of 609 poor municipalities in the country, only 99 have special education centers for grade school and 53 for high school.

"Empowerment must begin with education, with awareness. Sabi nga nila, 'Kami man ay may kapansanan pero may silbi naman kami.' (As they say, 'We may have disabilities but it doesn't mean we are useless.')

"We must provide them with all the opportunities so they can fully develop their potentials toward self-sufficiency and become fully participative members of society," Angara said.

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