By BAZOO DE JESUS
BAGUIO CITY — Persons with disabililities (PWDs), along with parents, friends, and advocates, are pushing for the establishment of a law-mandated affairs office for PWDs to unify their ranks and to safeguard their rights and welfare as among the marginalized sectors in the city and in society.
In a consultation last December 14 to commemorate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities on December 3, members and supporters of the PWD sector affixed their signatures to a statement requesting the city government of Baguio to establish the PWD Affairs Office (PDAO) which shall be manned by a PWD affairs officer.
For the past few years, efforts have been made by various groups like the Federation of Persons with Disabilities to set up the PDAO as mandated by Republic Act 10070 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons which “provides for the mechanisms to ensure programs and services for PWDs” in cities, municipalities, and provinces.
In addition, City Ordinance Number 40, series of 2015, mandated for the creation of the city’s PDAO that would serve “as a center for programs, plans, and services for PWDs”.
With the declaration, the signatories requested through the Office of the City Mayor that the budget for the establishment of the office be included in the 2017 executive budget.
Moreover, they sought to have the PDAO be manned by a PWD affairs officer and not to designate the functions of the office to the Office of the City Social Welfare and Development (OCSWD).
Local, national, and international laws, and policies and programs affecting the PWDs were also discussed in the gathering.
According to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), there are around 1,500 PWDs in the city and around 7,000 in the Cordillera. # nordis.net