PERSONS with disabilities will have better access to facilities and services as soon as the implementing rules and regulations of a recently approved ordinance will be crafted.

The ordinance will ensure that PWDs have an assistance desk in establishments such as malls, hotels, parks and entertainment centers, and more importantly, the airport.

According to a Japan International Cooperation Agency study in the Philippines in 2002, 46 percent of the total number of PWDs are visually impaired, 15 percent are physically disabled, 13 percent are hearing impaired and the rest are speech impaired, mute, intellectual and psychiatric disability. We were unable to gather more specific data on PWD statistics in the city but we assume that we have more or less the same estimate.

We assume that PWDs will be part of the deliberation in the IRR so that their inputs on the training given to those who will man the assistance desk will be considered. Considering that close to half are visually impaired, the training on sign language which Councilor Ryan Alejandre raised may be helpful to an estimated 15 percent but other appropriate skills in helping PWDs could also be explored.

Many people need to be properly informed on how to deal with PWDs and not assume that they are not able to care for themselves. Most PWDs are skilled and know how to navigate the environment in their own esteem. While having an assistance desk is necessary and would go a long way in making their lives easier, it is also important to conduct an information campaign on this ordinance so that the community can help point PWDs in the right direction.

A caring and supportive community is also a well-informed community. Even if we have good laws for specific sectors if this do not reach the community, it will just remain a piece of legislation.

Posted in Opinion