Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima lamented the reported lack of PWD-friendly facilities for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in transport services, including the Manila Light Rail Transit System or LRT.
De Lima, who made the statement after seeing the viral photo of a PWD trying to go upstairs while two security personnel carry his wheelchair at the LRT Recto station, urged the Congress anew to review the implementation of existing laws to protect and promote the rights and welfare of PWDs.
“The viral photo of a person with disability who was forced to climb the stairs alone while two staff carried his wheelchair at an LRT station highlights the social inequalities in our country and the daily struggles and discrimination PWDs are subjected to due to the lack of PWD-friendly facilities,” she said.
“While the effort of the two security personnel to help is appreciated, the excruciating experience of the PWD reportedly brought about by the lack of functioning elevators in the said LRT station is unacceptable. The LRT management should make sure that this will not happen again,” she added.
De Lima further said: “We need to examine the level of implementation and enforcement of existing laws for PWDs, including the review of the implementation of Batas Pambansa (BP) Blg. 344 or the ‘Accessibility Law’ and the Republic Act No. 7277, or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.”
Based on a media report, a netizen named Kevin Bolad expressed dismay after seeing the struggle of the PWD at the LRT Recto Station recently because elevators are not functioning.
“Knowing that the stairway was too high for him, nakakaawa and I feel sorry for him to experience this kind of hassle being a PWD,” Bola said.
The Philippines is a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities since 2008 and has B.P. 344 and R.A. 7277 which protect and promote the rights and welfare of PWDs so that they can enjoy same opportunities available to all.
“Up until today, there are still public and private buildings, transportation facilities and other establishments that have not satisfactorily complied with these two laws for PWDs,” she said.
De Lima, likewise urged her colleagues to help push for the swift passage of Senate Bill No. 188, transforming the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) into a full-blown commission to address the gaps in promoting the rights of PWDs.
“As a Commission, it shall be able to further strengthen its role as the primary agency responsible for the implementation of policies aimed at fulfilling the rights of the PWD sector,” De Lima maintained.
“We should never disregard the plight of PWDs. Hangad natin na maitaguyod ang isang lipunan kung saan may pantay na proteksyon at oportunidad ang ating PWDs sa ilalim ng batas, kinikilala ang kanilang karapatan at nabibigyan sila ng kakayahan para paunlarin ang sarili at pamilya, at para makaambag sa pag-unlad ng bansa,” she said.
During the 17th Congress, De Lima filed Senate Resolution No. 7277 seeking to conduct an inquiry on the status of the Accessibility Law and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. (30)