BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution encouraging all government offices, agencies or instrumentalities holding offices or with buildings located within the city to strictly comply with Batas Pambansa Bilang 344, or the Accessibility Law.
The resolution authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that in the city there are alarming reports that some government offices or agencies are located in private and public buildings which are not yet compliant to BP 344. This making it burdensome for persons with disabilities and even senior citizens to transact business with the concerned offices, automatically depriving them of the opportunities to avail of essential services and ultimately participate fully in social life and development of the societies they live in, and to enjoy opportunities available to other citizens.
The Accessibility Law is titled “An Act to Enhance the Mobility of Disabled Persons by Requiring Certain Buildings, Institutions, Establishments and Public Utilities to Install Facilities and Other Devices”. It was enacted in 1983 to aggressively promote the realization of the rights of disabled persons to participate fully in the social life and the development of the societies in which they live and the enjoyment of the opportunities available to other citizens for them to be able to effectively and efficiently interact with the people in their environs.
It further provides that no license or permit for the construction, repeal or renovation of public and private buildings for public use, educational institutions, airports, sports and recreation centers and complexes, shopping centers or establishments, public parking places, workplaces, or public utilities shall be granted or issued by the concerned government office unless the owner or operator of the proposed structure that will be constructed shall install and incorporate architectural facilities or structural features that reasonably enhance the mobility of disabled persons such as sidewalks, ramps, railings, and the like.
Further, the existing law also mandates the immediate renovation or alteration of all existing buildings, institutions, establishments, or public utilities to enable the disabled persons to have access to them.
“It is noteworthy to point out that the Philippines is a State party to the United Nations Convention on the |rights of People with Disabilities since 2008, hence, there is a need to strictly comply with the existing provisions of the law relative to accessibility of disabled persons and senior citizens to buildings in the different parts of the country,” Yangot stressed.
He emphasized the need for concerned offices of the local government to again conduct the required inspections on private and public structures in the city to ascertain the compliance of the owners to the provisions of the Accessibility Law to guarantee the convenience of disabled persons and senior citizens in transacting business with the private and public offices situated in the said structures located in the different parts of the city.
For building owners who refuse to comply with the prescribed remedial measures, he asserted the need for the local government to already impose the required penalties to the building owners who continue to defy lawful orders relative to their compliance to standards.
By Dexter A. See