TABUK CITY, Kalinga – A new initiative for the over-all rehabilitation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) has been introduced to the Tabuk City government in a consultation workshop on the implementation of community-based rehabilitation strategy on January 25.
Dr. Remegio Basilan of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH)-CAR, in his report, said that in order for PWDs to achieve wholesome development, the Incheon Strategy must be espoused.
He said that the Incheon Strategy, an action plan of the 3rd decade from 2013 to 2022 adopted by the governments and PWDs of the Asia-Pacific region who met in Incheon, South Korea in November 2012, requires government to collect data about PWDs for more effective planning and delivery of services.
Basilan said that, operating on the vision “We Want to be Counted”, the Incheon strategy has the following goals: reduction on the number of poor PWDs and increased jobs for them; promotion of the PWD participation in political processes and decision-making; increased access to physical environment, public transportation, knowledge, information and communication; increased government support (cash, personal help, counseling, medicine, treatment, therapy, rehabilitation or other health services); more support and education to children with disabilities equally; support women with disabilities to be confident, and have knowledge and skills to live independently in the community; make sure that PWDs are safe when disasters happen; implement the Convention on the Rights of PWDs (CRPD) and make national laws similar to it; and work together more at sub regional, regional and interregional level.
”Disability is an evolving concept, dynamic, complex and multidimensional contested part of human condition. All efforts must be made to bring PWDs in the mainstream society,” Basilan said.
He added that PWDs include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Grace Oyando of the Office of the Persons with Disability Affairs of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) informed that there are 1,064 PWDs based on the their 2016 registry; 125 of these are undergoing rehabilitation process at the Lin-awa Rehabilitation Center.
The figure, she said includes ortho/moving disabilities, communication deficits, visual/ seeing disabilities, learning (cognitive or intellectual) disabilities, chronic illnesses with disability, mental disabilities, and psychosocial and behavioral.
To update the registry, Oyando, also the Tabuk City Federation of PWDs secretary, disclosed that the barangays will start listing the names of their constituents diagnosed or suspected to be facing any form of disability which will later be submitted at their respective rural health units for validation and further evaluation.
”To achieve the first goal, the updated registry will take into account the PWDs who are working and who have received any training offered by the government,” she informed.
Oyando, during the consultation workshop said that lack of awareness on RA 7277 (Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities) and RA 10754 (An Act Expanding the Benefits of Persons with Disabilities) makes life harder for this disadvantaged group.
To address lack of awareness, she said that massive information campaign must be conducted especially among establishment owners to inform them of the law so that no PWD is left behind in availing the grants entitled of him/her.
Oyando also said that stricter implementation of the Batas Pambansa 344 (Accessibility Law) requiring all buildings to install accessible ramps; handrails and grab bars; parking space; and signage will also foster rehabilitation.
In conclusion, she said that only through giving PWDs the opportunity for employment, education, health, accessibility and political and civil rights that they live normal lives in spite of their disability.
By Darwin S. Serion