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.