By Bernadette E. Tamayo | The Manila Times
FORMER senator Ferdinand "Bongbong Marcos" Jr. pledged to push for the empowerment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) if he will be elected president.
The presidential candidate on Thursday said he will provide them equal opportunity 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 need support," Marcos said in a statement. "We want them to feel that they enjoy the same privileges and opportunities." He said that the P52.44 million budget of the National Council for Disability Affairs is not enough to develop programs and deliver necessary services to the PWDs.
"If I'm given the mandate, I will ask the local government units (LGUs) and business sector to help and do their share to help our PWDs by giving jobs and other means of livelihood," Marcos said.
The Partido Federal ng Pilipinas standard bearer said Republic Act (RA) 10070, or the "Magna Carta for Disabled Persons," must be fully implemented at the LGU level. He said that a 2019 study showed that 40 percent of LGUs do not have Persons with Disability Affairs Office and that awareness of RA 10070 "is low." "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," Marcos said.
He added that PWDs should be allowed 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," Marcos pointed out. "By protecting and empowering them, we are also protecting and empowering their children, their parents, and their loved ones."
"Despite the laws that are already in place, we see the need to help them in terms of health care, education, transportation, and other special concerns. 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," he said.