BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Arthur Alad-iw mandating all barangays in the city to a Persons With Disabilities (PWD) desk or committee in their respective barangay to uphold the rights of differently-abled persons in the different parts of the city.
The ordinance stated the PWD desk or committee in the barangays will be under the supervision and control of the Punong Barangay who shall designate the Barangay Kagawad who will chair the committee relative to PWDs or any other official who shall likewise be named as the PWD desk officer.
The PWD desk or committee shall coordinate with the PWD Affairs Office (PWDAO) under the City Mayor’s Office and the City Social Welfare and Development Office and distribute information relative to programs and activities for PWDs in their respective barangays, gather, compile and keep pertinent data such as, but not limited to, the nature and history of their disabilities and their potentials, including those that can be possibly honed for livelihood purposes and their ethnic affiliation, identify their residence location and adopt an evaluation system for evacuation during calamities and possible assistance, and ensure that policies, plans, programs and services for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs, are funded.
Further, the PWD desk or committee is also tasked to monitor and report discriminatory acts committed against PWDs, report to the PWDAO non-complying establishments to the accessibility law, ensure that PWDs are assisted by persons of their choice during national or local elections, facilitate the issuance of identification cards to PWDs, represent PWDs in meetings of local development councils and other special bodies, recommend and enjoin the participation of non-government organizations and civil society in the implementation of all disability-related laws and policies, submit report to the PWDAO on the implementation of the programs and services for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs, monitor fund raising activities being conducted for the benefit of PWDs and perform such other functions as may be necessary for the protection of PWDs.
Alad-iw said the improvement of the total well-being of PWDs and their integration to mainstream society are among the institutionalized policies under international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
He added that the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the law aims for similar policies to be implemented up to the grassroots level in order to improve the general welfare of PWDs, one of the marginalized sectors of our society. According to him, the local legislative measure will help strengthen the PWDAO, systematize programs and services for PWDs, encourage the active participation of PWDs in various activities and programs, and more particularly, empower the barangays and other local government units which are most knowledgeable of the conditions of PWDs on the ground.
By Dexter A. See