Sen.Pia takes up cudgels for PWDs

News Release
16 July 2015

Sen.Pia: Shame on those who take advantage of benefits meant for PWDs!

Shame on those who take advantage of benefits meant for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).

This was Senator Pia S. Cayetano’s reaction to several photos that have recently gone viral on social media showing able-bodied motorists occupying parking slots reserved for PWDs in various malls and restaurants.

“People who take advantage of benefits reserved for PWDs at the latter’s expense have no shame and no sense of respect,” she stressed.

The senator made the call ahead of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, which will be observed throughout the country from July 17-23.

“It’s a good sign that netizens are posting photos and denouncing such violations online. This indicates growing awareness on the plight of the differently abled sector,” she said.

“But it’s not just the photos but also action that must go viral and spill over to the real world. Much needs to be done to prevent PWDs from being deprived, not only of parking spaces, but more so of the rights and privileges that are due them under the law,” she added.

Cayetano urged mall owners and administrators of public utilities, government institutions and commercial establishments to make sure that PWDs have full access to facilities and services that were meant for them.

“The law mandates establishments to ensure mobility and provide discounts to PWDs in line with promoting equal opportunities, non-discrimination, and inclusive development.”

And yet, Cayetano said violations of the mobility law in the Building Code (Batas Pambansa 344) and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (RA 7277, as amended by RA 9442) are reported regularly online.

She also underscored the role of local governments in ensuring that PWD laws and ordinances are properly enforced. Cayetano is the principal author of RA 10070, which mandates the creation of a Persons with Disability Office (PDAO) in every province, city and municipality.

“Through PDAO, the local government must take the lead in monitoring complaints and recommending penalties for violations, in coordination with business owners, PWD groups, and agencies such as the National Council on Disability Affairs,” she explained.

“The bottomline here is acceptance and respect. We already outnumber PWDs ten to one and so we have no right to further marginalize them. Mahiya naman tayo,” she concluded, citing latest figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority placing the population of PWDs at 1.4 million nationwide. #

Note: Photo collage uses images from Top Gear FB and @jesteronexile on Twitter

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