Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has expressed elation over the Senate’s approval on third and final reading of the bill establishing services for learners with disabilities to pursue inclusive education.
De Lima, a social justice and human rights champion, said the passage of Senate Bill (SB) No. 1907 will help ensure equal opportunities for learners with disabilities who already carried the burden of having to exert more effort to overcome their limitations in order to study and learn even before the pandemic.
“As a parent to a son and a grandparent to a grandson in the spectrum who are familiar with the struggles of learners with special needs, I am elated that the measure has been swiftly approved in the Senate,” she said.
In her Manifestation of Support for SBN 1907, De Lima said the very noteworthy measure and reform in the country’s educational system gives justice to the necessities of students with special needs which were unaddressed for decades until now.
“My experience raising my son, allowed me insight into the daily struggles and daily wins of families of children with special needs. So apt is the timing perhaps, even though still late in the coming, because I can only imagine how things have worsened with the new battlefronts that must be faced – those that have been brought about by this pandemic,” she said.
“Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang ito ay malaking tulong ang maibibigay natin sa mga pamilya at mga estudyandeng may learning disabilities,” she said.
Senators passed on third and final reading SB No. 1907 or the proposed Instituting Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act, voting 23-0-0 on last May 31.
If passed into law, the said measure would require each city and municipality to put up at least one inclusive learning resource center (ILRC) for learners with special needs. All existing special education centers would then be converted into ILRCs.
Likewise, the Department of Education would be required to hire and train a supervisor, mobile teachers, and a team of professionals which will include educational psychologist, guidance counselor, physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and language therapist, reading specialist, and sign language specialist for each ILRC.
De Lima stressed that inclusive education is part of the State’s obligation to provide quality education to Filipinos with disabilities, which is implicit in the constitutional right to education and also expressly undertaken by the Philippine Government upon its ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008.
“Sa kabila ng mga balakid, palagian silang nagniningning upang ipamalas na hindi hadlang ang kapansanan sa pagtatagumpay,” De Lima said.
“However well they adapt in life, however strong they can always stand in the middle of the storm to shine and always shine, the undeniable reality is that these learners have special needs that the State must not ignore,” she said.
The House already approved its own version of SB 1907 in December 2020. (30)
(Access Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Manifestation of Support on the passage of SBN 1907, here: https://bit.ly/34NsqoZ)