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PIA Press Release

Cebu City cited among most disabled-friendly cities nationwide

Cebu City (29 September) -- Cebu is one of the most disabled-friendly cities nationwide.

Geraldine Ruiz, president of the Organization of Rehabilitative Agencies (ORA) said Cebu City is the only city across the country that has created the Accessibility Monitoring Committee (AMC).

Ruiz, a member of the AMC that is composed of representatives from the government and private sectors is a body that monitors whether establishments have complied with BP 344 or the Accessibility Law. The law promotes a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities (PWDs) for their easy mobility. Under the law, architectural facilities or structural features must be adopted in all establishments.

Specific design for accessibility features includes the width of the ramp, the grab bars in public toilets, structures in elevators, skywalks and designated pedestrian lanes, this was said.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-7) said they are regularly monitoring the compliance of establishments to BP 344 and has issued warnings for compliance. Failure to comply will be reported to the Office of the Building Official for possible sanctions, according to Marie Nillama, DPWH-7 public information officer.

A question raised during the recent regional media forum on disability asked the possible sanctions against the Palace of Justice at Capitol, Cebu City and the newly constructed Palace of Justice in Toledo City that lacked accessibility features in violation to BP 344.

Ruiz however, said the law states that establishments that failed to comply with the accessibility features must pay the fine of P2,000. Most establishments would rather pay the fine rather than renovate the building to add accessibility features which is more costly, Ruiz bared.

Ruiz said the AMC is exercising maximum tolerance and apply diplomatic negotiations first before dispensing with the necessary sanctions, Ruiz ended. (PIA-Cebu/FCR) [top]

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