Tag Archives: Magna Carta for Persons with Disability

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.

Sign Language & Politics

Is it more important for the sign language to be used to the letter than for it to draw a point?

For Sen. Nancy Binay, author of the Senate Bill 14551, it is. What Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson and blogger Andrew “Drew” Olivar have done is actually a sign of disrespect “to the sizeable deaf/mute community who already struggle in airing their concerns and aspirations.”

Asec. Uson and Olivar have posted a video in September 14 on the “Mocha Uson Blog” that featured the latter pretending to be a hearing-speech impaired person, flailing his arms around, and making squeaking sounds.

“Such discriminatory actions set back our efforts to make our society more inclusive by providing a more conducive environment for deaf Filipinos to exercise their right to expression without prejudice,” the senator was quoted as saying in a report.

The University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Education Student Council agrees. So apart from condemning the “outright form of discrimination,” it demanded a public apology from Asec. Uson.

“Such seat in the government should not be carelessly given to people who do not take precedence and give value to the importance of a community’s language and culture,” it pointed in the same report.

The Philippine Federation of the Deaf, on the other hand, has gone to filing a complaint against the former board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) before the Office of the Ombudsman. It also filed a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights alongside the Philippine Deaf Resource Center and the Philippine Coalition on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Asec. Uson has violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, the Civil Code of the Philippines, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the groups claimed.

Other institutions appalled by Asec. Uson and Olivar are the PWD Philippines, and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

This was not the first time Asec. Uson has offended the Filipino public. Student leaders of Akbayan Youth have charged Asec. Uson in April 2 with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

She has also caused cyberbullying attacks against students from St. Scholastica’s College, stated that Mayon Volcano was in Naga City, dared several opposition public officials to visit the wake of a slayed police officer who had died a year earlier, posted a photograph of Honduran military forces in place of the Philippine military, alleged Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to have offshore bank accounts, and called Vice President Leni Robredo “bobo” at least five times on live radio.

“We welcome the public apology the duo recently issued. However, for an apology to be genuine, it must be coupled with a full sense of accountability, concrete actions to rectify the wrong done, and future actions should manifest efforts to protect and promote the welfare and dignity of the PWDs.” ~ Commission on Human Rights

1Otherwise called “The Filipino Sign Language Act,” the proposed law intends to adopt the FSL as an official language of instruction and communication of the deaf in the Philippines. It would be the official sign language in all government transactions involving them in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces.

Standard label?

How could the members of the world’s largest minority be known in a variety of names?

The Philippines has officially referred to them as “disabled persons” last July 22, 1991. Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 7277 has defined them as “those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

Fifteen years later, though, the law that was otherwise entitled as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was amended and Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 9442 renamed every disabled person in the country as a “person with disability.” The title of Republic Act No. 7277 was changed to the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability” and all references to “disabled persons” to “persons with disability”.

This must be the reason why Americans with a disability are labelled as “individuals with a disability”; Canadians and Vietnamese with a disability as “people with disabilities”; and Indians with a disability as “persons with disabilities.”

Moldovans with a disability are “invalid,” though—a portrayal that The Rhythmic Arts Project has claimed to “elicit unwanted sympathy, or worse, pity toward individuals with disabilities.” TRAP has further advised to use the terms person with a disability; people with disabilities; has a disability; or have disabilities instead.

If someone is using a wheelchair to move around, describe her as a “wheelchair user.” What some may classify as a “birth defect” or “affliction” is actually a “congenital disability” or “birth anomaly.”

There’s no need to describe someone as “a victim of [the physical condition]” when you can just say “has a [the physical condition]”. It could also be “has had [the physical condition]”; “experienced [the physical condition]”; or “has a disability as a result of [the physical condition].”

A “person with Down Syndrome” is different from a “Down’s person” or “Mongoloid” (the last two terms are simply derogatory). A “person who has epilepsy/people with seizure disorders or epileptic episodes” is also not the same as an “epileptic.”

Those that some in the society claim “the mentally ill,” “crazy,” “psycho,” or “mental case” should just be termed “people who have mental illness” or “person with a mental or emotional disorder.” Those it call “blind-hearing impaired,” “deaf-mute,” or “deaf and dumb” should be identified as “people who are blind,” “visually impaired,” “person who is hard of hearing,” “person who is deaf,” or “the Deaf.” Deafness is a cultural phenomenon and should be capitalized in this particular instance.

“The use of outdated language and words to describe people with disabilities (PWDs) contributes greatly to perpetuating old stereotypes.” ~ The Rhythmic Arts Project

Video taken from the website of the Disability Horizons