Tag Archives: ABS-CBN News

Transporting healthcare

Aside from having to afford healthcare, persons with disabilities in the Philippines also have to struggle with transportation expenses to experience it.

The Senate has passed on third and final reading the Senate Bill No. 1391 last July 30. It sought to amend Republic Act No. 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, and provide mandatory coverage from the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation. The House of Representatives, on the other hand, has approved on second reading its own version—the House Bill No. 8014–on September 5.

If finally signed into law, the PhilHealth will be required to develop exclusive packages for PWDs, taking into account their specific health and development needs. The 1.6 million PWDs in the country today won’t have to worry when they have to go to hospitals.

That is, if they could go to hospitals.

The mininum fare in public utility jeepneys (PUJs) as of February 8, 2017 is P6.50 while the minimum fare in public utility buses (PUBs) varies: P8.00 is the minimum for the ordinary buses since March 29, 2011 while P9.50 is the minimum fare for the air-conditioned ones. Both groups of transport vehicles are clamoring for a fare hike, though, citing the continuous increase of oil prices.

But “running mostly on diesel engines, [PUJs] are polluting and inefficient for city transportation,” cited in a report. “Passengers have little comfort and virtually no security or safety,” it was further noted, and “there is probably not a single jeepney plying the streets of Metro Manila that can pass even a fraction of safety necessities that every automobile must follow.”

So would the bills really help PWDs? The PWD Forum thinks it would if the current transportation woes would be addressed. Most PWDs come from the low-income class that the means to go to a hospital is important, too.

“Currently, only P2P buses are considered accessible to us. There is also a limited number and limited time for us to avail of such services. This is unfair compared to those without disabilities.” ~ Abner Manlapaz

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the ABS-CBN News

Note: Currently, PWDs can avail medicine and hospitalization discounts at the same level as senior citizens for as long as they are certified as such and carry PWD cards issued by local governments.

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Pushing for the PWDs’ education

Educating persons with disabilities in developing countries such as the Philippines calls for money and resources. As it is, many developing countries’ school budgets cannot already cover all of the mainstream students that need to be taught.

The teachers there also do not have any special needs training1. The schools’ buildings may not be wheelchair-accessible or the PWDs themselves do not even have wheelchairs. The books may not be enough for the sight-impaired students to share with their classmates without disabilities and the hearing-disabled students may not have the hearing aid resources they need.

Some developing countries deem PWDs to be cursed and, therefore, should be avoided. Educating them alongside students without disabilities could, therefore, present a problem for the parents of the latter.

But educating PWDs and non-PWDs together could let those with disabilities in developing countries fully assimilate into the culture of where they are. It is invariably “a way of giving disabled and special needs students2 access to an education and helping them become accepted into society as full, participating members.”

It is said that the greatest percentage of PWDs reside in developing countries; approximately 80% are in Africa, Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America. Some of them are among the countries that ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). This goes without saying that they adhere to inclusion and inclusive education, which is one of the key provisions of the UNCRPD3.

Educating PWDs alongside non-PWDs in developing countries should be considered now so that there will soon come a time that helping PWDs will just come naturally. There would be no need for rules anymore and education for PWDs will cease to be an “unaffordable luxury” or “non-crucial” because of the degree of financial expenditure and human involvement.

Arguably, a lack of education is the greatest disability of all, and these disabled individuals must suffer the deprivations of educational disability along with physical or mental disability.”

1If they do get training, it is based on a special education needs model, where the focus is on separating a PWD from their peers to segregated classes and schools.

2Aside from PWDs, inclusive education also encompasses to heads of households, former child-soldiers, street children, orphans, child prostitutes, and children of war and displacement.

3Article 24 commits State parties to developing an inclusive education system, where disability should not prevent people from successfully participating in the mainstream education system.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the ABS-CBN News