July 27, 2010 in Featured
By ALMA SINUMLAG
BAGUIO CITY — Naas Demyttenaere of Saint Louis University – Institute of Inclusive Education (SLU – IIEF) questioned the accessibility of structures in the city for the persons with disabilities (PWD’s) during the Kapihan hosted by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) here, Wednesday.
Focused on the 32nd National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, July 17 – 23, 2010 the forum revolved on theme: “Sa Istrukturang Accessible, lahat ay Able.”
Reacting to the statements given by representatives from the different government agencies that they were implementing the rules on making stuctures for public use accessible to PWD’s as provided for in Batas Pambansa 344 or the Accessibility Law; Demyttenaere said “the government agencies are not doing their jobs because there are no stuctures in the city that follow the rules on accessibility”.
He added that there are many laws on accessibility but none is being implemented properly.
To give flesh to Demyttenaere’s tirade: Ramon of the Baguio Organization for the Blind, also a guest in the Kapihan agreed to Demyttenaere. He cited one situation parked cars on the road ramps make it difficult for those like him in wheelchairs to travel along or cross the streets.
Avelino, also said the roads in the city are not friendly to one who is lame like him. He added that even the comfort rooms for the PWD’s in the DPWH building were not accessible.
“Sapay koma ta nu agaramid da apu iti CR para kadagiti pilay, masapul nga eksakto. Nu haan da ammu ti standard nga measurement na, agayab da iti pilay a pangibasaran da tapnu haan nga sayang ti kuwarta ti gobyerno nu sukatan da manen”
(I hope that when they construct a toilet for the lame, standard specifications should be exact. If they do not know the standards, I advise them to hire a lame person during the designing. That person shall serve as basis for the measuremnents to avoid wasting government funds rebuilding a substandard comfort room.) He stated this after so much difficulty using PWD comfort room in the venue before the kapihan started.
Mr. Demyttenaere suggested at the forum that DPWH hire PWD’s in the desingning process of building structures because the PWDs knows best the standards needed to make the structures accessible for them.
Francis Ray Almora, the Chief Administration Officer of the DPWH however can only say that the laws are implemented and that “the effectivity of its implementation is perhaps the one questionablem.”
Asked if the accessibility law is included in the academe, Mr. Almora said that there is only a portion in the Engineering and Architecture curriculum discussing this issue but not as one subject.
On the other hand, Mr. Demyttenaere also commented on the law granting priveleges and incentives to PWDs like the 20% discount on basic commodoties, as provided for under Republic Act 9442.
He said, “Education is a right but we are not giving it for free instead we are only giving them priveledges”. He compared this to giving a blind person 20% discount to a movie ticket.
Ramon is one of the PWD’s with a degree in Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education (BSED), and according to him, he is very lucky to have been given the priveledge to study. This is evidence that our society has not yet fully accepted that these persons also have the right to education. It is not being lucky to have a degree.
With this, Mr. Demyttenaere said there is a need to rehabilitate our society.# nordis.net