Manila Standard : UniTeam eyes more for PWD cause, welfare

27 January 2022

By Rey E. Requejo | Manila Standard

Presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. on Thursday said he will push for the empowerment of persons with disabilities by providing equal opportunity both in law and reality “as they are an important partner in nation-building.”

“I believe we haven’t done enough for them. We have more than one million brothers and sisters who are PWDs and they and their families needed support. We want them to feel that they enjoy the same privileges and opportunities,” said Marcos, standard-bearer of Partido Federal ng Pilipinas.

“We have laws and policies that are structured to protect and promote them but I feel we could do more. As they say, those who have less in life must have more in law,” he added.

According to Marcos, it is not only by allowing the PWDs to have access to all infrastructure projects and financial plans that they are empowered, but by actually allowing them to join the labor force according to their skills and knowledge.

“We see them doing massages in the malls and other places, busking in the streets and doing other odd jobs, but they can do more than that,” he pointed out.

“By protecting and empowering them, we are also protecting and empowering their children, their parents, and their love-ones. Despite the laws that are already in place, we see the need to help them in terms of healthcare, education, transportation, and other special concerns,” Marcos said.

“Furthermore, we have to compel government facilities to strictly adhere to the requirement of accessibility for PWDs and elderly specifically in train stations, airports, and seaports. We also have to ensure that they have functioning elevators and escalators at all times,” he added.

He emphasized that the P52.44 million budget of the National Council for Disability Affairs is not enough to cover the task of developing programs and the delivery of necessary services to the PWDs.

“If I’m given the mandate, I will ask the local government units and business sector to help and do their share to help our PWDs by giving jobs and other means of livelihood. Some entrepreneurs are already practicing inclusivity in their workforce by hiring them, we still need more of these, let us lend a helping hand and make them feel that they are part of our dream na sama-samang bumangon para sa kinabukasan,” Marcos said.

He said, RA 10070, or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, which establishes an institutional mechanism to ensure the implementation of programs and services for PWDs, must be fully implemented at the LGU level and will be strengthened through the assistance of the private sector.

A 2019 study showed that 40 percent of the LGUs do not have the Persons with Disability Affairs Office and that awareness of RA 10070 is low.

“We take cognizance of this situation and we will fix it as soon as we start implementing the changes in our healthcare system. It will have to be a multi-pronged approach because the problems that we have are interrelated,” Marcos said.