Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged the government to exhaust all efforts in providing equal protection under the law for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) to ensure a more dignified life for them that is free from abuse and discrimination.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development Committee, said national agencies and local officials should work together to increase the public awareness in every aspect of PWDs’ political, social, economic and cultural life.
“There will never be an acceptable excuse or reason for PWDs to be neglected, abused or sidelined. As a mother and grandmother of children with autism, advocating for the well-being of PWDs holds a special place in my heart,” she said.
“Hindi awa ang kailangan nila kundi ang malalim na pag-unawa sa kanilang sitwasyon, kapansanan, at mga hamong pinagdadaanan. Kailangan nila ng kaagapay mula sa ating lahat, ang patas nating pagtingin at paggabay para makamit nila ang normal at marangal na pamumuhay,” she added.
De Lima made the remark during this year’s observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities which aims to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development.
The annual observance of the International Day of PWDs was proclaimed in 1992 by United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3.
As part of her effort to ensure that the plight of PWDs are improved, De Lima reintroduced her National Commission for Disability Affairs (NCDA) Bill, logged as Senate Bill No. 188 this 18th Congress, transforming the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) into a full-blown commission to address the gaps in promoting the rights of PWDs.
“We envision the Commission to be the lead policy-making, planning, monitoring, and coordinating body that will develop, formulate and implement programs for the prevention and rehabilitation of disabilities,” she said.
SB No.188 underscores the role of the National Commission for Disability Affairs as the primary agency responsible for the implementation of policies aimed at fulfilling the rights of the PWD sector.
This present 18th Congress, the lady Senator from Bicol also filed SB No. 855, referred to as “Integrating Persons with Autism and other Development Disabilities Act,” establishing institutional and social mechanisms to support persons with development disabilities and their families.
The said measure seeks, among others, to conduct a comprehensive training program for health providers all over the country so as to help PWDs and their families cope with their condition and turn them into productive members of society
With shared commitment and unwavering solidarity, De Lima said she believes that the government and the Filipino public can “break the barriers that restrict our countrymen, especially the marginalized, in making meaningful contributions to society.” (30)