BAGUIO CITY, July 20 (PIA) --The federation of Persons with Disabilities in the city appealed to concerned government agencies to fully implement Republic Act 9442 or the Magna Carta of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs).
During the Community-Based Dialogue (CBD) session spearheaded by the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Cordillera, John Paredes of the Baguio Association of the Blind presented some of the issues and concerns being faced by PWDs in the city.
Among the issues presented by Paredes include accessibility, employment, limited therapy and medical services for children with disabilities, banking system for the Visually Impaired (VI), implementation of the 20% discount on taxi fares for the VIs and Hearing Impaired (HI).
Paredes, who is a VI, said that while project on accessibility is focused on the installation of ramps, there is also a need for accessibility features to guide VIs when crossing the street.
He cited some examples like the installation of electronic switch or push button along pedestrian lanes, or magnetic toe at pedestrian lanes and market places for VI persons to follow.
He also appealed for the installation of designated taxi stand for VIs at the Central Business District for easier access to get taxi ride.
Jerry Lingaling of the Father Rafael Desmedt (FARAD) Multipurpose Cooperative
and interim president of PWDs in the city, said PWDs think that the real essence of the accessibility is to make them access places and social services even on their own. Lingaling uses a wheelchair
Another problem on accessibility here is that most of the comfort rooms for PWDs in business establishments are usually locked, so they still have to talk to the person in-charge to be able to use them, he added.
On the issue on banking system, Paredes said that PWDs particularly the VIs experienced discrimination in opening bank accounts especially in big banks. They cannot open bank accounts on their own due to lack of gadget designed for the purpose. He said at present, only Summit Bank is accepting VIs to open bank accounts.
There should be a law that provides VIs to personally have their bank accounts, Paredes expressed.
On the 20% discount previledge of PWDs on fare in public utility vehicles, Paredes said that the VIs and hearing- impaired are not currently enjoying the 20% discount on taxi fare which the orthopedically impaired do.
Jeany Ann Torres, information officer of Department of Transportation, responded saying LTRFB Memo Circular 2018-004 states that PWDs can avail of discounted fares so long as they present documents such as identification card issued by the National Council for Welfare of Disabled Persons or local government units.
Violators shall pay a total of PHP5, 000 fine for the first offense, and PHP10, 000 for the second offense plus a six-month suspension of their Certificate of Public Convenience, Torres informed.
On the issue of lack of employment opportunities for PWDs. Lingaling appealed to government agencies to put emphasis on the one percent employment allotment for PWDs in government entities. (JDP/MWC-PIA CAR)