Programs for PWDs ensured by new law
by Jean Duron-Abangan
Davao City (18 June) -- The national government now wants to make sure that programs and services for persons with disabilities (PWDs) will be implemented in every province, city and municipality.
This is being made possible through the passage of Republic Act No. 10070 otherwise known as "An Act Establishing an Institutional Mechanism to Ensure the Implementation of Programs and Services for Person with Disabilities in Every Province, City and Municipality, Amending Republic Act no. 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons."
The national office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) gave all concerned government agencies focusing on PWDs, a copy of the new law that was DSWD OIC Secretary Alicia R. Bala.
Signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo last April 06, 2010, RA No. 10070 cites in its Section 1 the amendment of Section 40 of RA 7277 which states the "Role of National Agencies and Local Government Units."
Under this section, LGUs are tasked to promote the establishment of organizations of PWDs, and together with national agencies "may enter into joint ventures with organizations or associations of PWDs to explore livelihood opportunities and other undertakings that shall enhance the health, physical fitness and the economic and social well-being of PWDs."
RA 10070 directs provincial, city and municipal LGUs to organize and establish Person with Disability Affairs Office PDAO) and to appoint PWD affairs officer, preferably a qualified PWD, "who shall manage and oversee" the office operation.
Among other functions, PDAO is expected to formulate, and implement policies, plans and program promoting of the welfare of PWDs in coordination with concerned national and local government agencies.
It is also tasked to coordinate the implementation of the provisions of RA 10070, Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 or the Accessibility Law, and other relevant laws at the local level.
It can also recommend and enjoin the participation of non-government organizations and people's organizations in the implementation of al disability ?related laws and policies.
Its other functions include gathering and compiling of data on PWDs, disseminating information on program regarding PWDs, monitoring of fund-raising activities for the benefit of PWDs, and seeking of donation in cash or in kind for PWDs in accordance with existing laws and regulations.
RA 10070 is giving due consideration for LGUs 4th, 5th and 5th class towns as it allows such LGUs to only designate a focal person "who shall perform the functions of PDAO.
To carry out effectively the objective of rehabilitating and developing self-reliance among PWDs as enshrined in RA 7277, RA 10070 ensures in its Section 4, the funding for programs and other support mechanism for PWDs from the national and local governments.
The law also made especial mention about using the term "Persons with Disabilities" in lieu of "disabled persons".
RA 7277 defines persons with disabilities as "those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being."
It further defines "impairment" as "any loss, diminution, or aberration of psychological, physiological, or anatomical structure or function." (PIA XI) [top]