Tag Archives: PDAO

“PWD-friendly” and “disabled persons”

Just how PWD-friendly the Philippines can get?

Not much, Amierielle Anne A. Bulan had said in an article. Her grandmother who had colon cancer and difficulty in walking had to be placed in a monobloc chair and carried by four men (whom her family paid P100 each) to attend to her medical check-up in a six-story building with no elevator in Quezon City. That is far, in Bulan’s opinion, from what the Department of Tourism is trying to convey in its latest campaign: that the Philippines is “destination-friendly.”

But it is trying. The Muntinlupa City has recently partnered with The Birthright Educators Foundation Inc. (TBEFI) and established—finally—a Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO)1. Ten hotels were also recognized for being “barrier-free” and friendly to persons with disabilities (PWD) during the World Tourism Day2 and 15 business establishments were awarded by the Makati City Hall for promoting the rights and welfare of PWDs3.

The Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) has urged public buses to modernize4. The National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA) has reiterated the importance of facilities like ramps, toilets, and handrails in all public places5.

In the Oxford Dictionary, there is no such term as “PWD-friendly” but “disabled-friendly,” an adjective “that caters to the needs of the disabled, as by offering wheelchair access or services for those with impaired vision or hearing.”6 Recognizing the term, though, could instill the necessary attitudes people must have towards PWDs: thoughtful, tolerant, and instinctive.

“We need to inspire the persons with disabilities to stand up for their rights, and this is one way of exercising that, recognize us as people and not for our impairments,” Leila Benaso

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Harthy Satina

1https://www.muntinlupacity.gov.ph/pwd-friendly-city/

2https://businessmirror.com.ph/19-hotels-recognized-for-being-pwd-friendly/

3http://www.manilatimes.net/15-makati-establishments-pwd-friendly/151967/

4http://news.abs-cbn.com/nation/metro-manila/02/18/16/look-phs-first-pwd-friendly-bus

5https://news.mb.com.ph/2018/02/09/audit-up-for-establishments-to-be-pwd-friendly/

6https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/disabled-friendly

7https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/disabled

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Accessibility and more

Local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines have been doing what they can for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country.

In Antique, for instance, the Provincial Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in Antique has held an accessibility audit in the establishments and schools in the city. It was headed by Paolo Castillo who visited the Eagles Hotel, Land Bank of the Philippines, Special Education and Development Antique Integrated School, Antique Christian Center Incorporated, and Advance Central College together with the Association of the Municipal Engineers of Antique, Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG).

In Marikina City, on the other hand, Vice Mayor Jose Cadiz has worked on a software so that PWDs can be picked up from specific points in the locality.

It also launched a PWD-friendly tricycle–a first of its kind in the Philippines—which is inspired by the units in Tokyo and Hong Kong. The tricycle has a larger space that can accommodate a passenger in a wheelchair and three persons more. It also has a ramp and straps to easily draw the passenger into the vehicle while securing the wheelchair on board.

The city government has one unit only, though. It was hoping the private sector will contribute in producing more units. The so-called PWD-friendly tricycle will cost P10,000 more than a regular tricycle but there will be no terminal membership fee of P50,000 anymore since the units do not have to be parked in a terminal.

“We are not fighting for pity. What we are asking is for them to respect our rights regardless of our disabilities. Because, in a way, we are all equal.” ~ Charito Manglapus

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rappler

Healthcare in the Philippines

“We are currently institutionalizing the unified implementation of the “No Balance Billing Policy” through which the government and our private healthcare providers can work out a system that will provide an order of charging of medical expenses.”

A year ago, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte signed into law the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law. No hospital shall “request, solicit, demand or accept any deposit” for any medical treatment starting then, and any violator would be punished by either imprisonment, fine, or both. The Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) were also called upon for the implementation of this law: the first to reimburse the hospital or clinic for the medical costs and transportation services given to poor and indigent patients, while the second to provide medical assistance for the basic emergency care needs of poor and marginalized groups.

Much needs to be done to improve our healthcare system, which remains highly fragmented, resulting in disparity in health outcomes between the rich and the poor in the urban areas and rural. While investments in health have increased over the years, several policy and operational bottlenecks have constrained universal health care for this country.”

But the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines, Inc. (PHAPi) was against it. As soon as the implementing rules and regulations of the law were released, they filed a petition to the Supreme Court to nullify the Act Strengthening the Anti-Hospital Deposit Law by Increasing the Penalties for the Refusal of Hospitals and Medical Clinics to Administer Appropriate Initial Treatment and Support in Emergency or Serious Cases. The penalties1  for health facilities that refuse to take in emergency patients who cannot pay in advance is “unconstitutional,” “unreasonable,” and “amounts to denial of due process.” Directing the PhilHealth and the PCSO to reimburse basic emergency care costs to “poor and indigent patients” is violative of the equal protection clause, too, amounting to involuntary servitude.

“We shall pool all our resources for health services under the [PhilHealth]; institutionalize primary care as a prerequisite to access higher level of healthcare; and supplement human resource gaps of the LGUs through a National Health Workforce Support System.”

So, as of now, the PhilHealth covers Filipinos regardless of their social status. An amount—termed as the “case rate amount”—would be deducted from the member’s total bill, which would include the professional fees of attending physicians, prior to discharge2. Filipinos can also turn to the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to get free prescription medicine through its Assistance to Individuals in Crisis Situations (AICS) program3.

“These will ensure that every Filipino family gets the appropriate, affordable, and quality health services in appropriate facilities and will be protected from financial burden due to sickness.”

Indigents, government employees, services workers, and those “determined by DSWD social workers” can benefit from the program through referral letters to the department’s partner-drugstores and hospital pharmacies. They must just submit their medical certificate, doctor’s prescription, indigent card, and valid ID to the DSWD Crisis Intervention Unit (CIU) located at the Central Office, field offices, and satellite offices in the provinces.

“To this end, I urge the speedy passage of the Universal Health Care Bill authored by Former Representative Harry Roque. Strong political determination, not political ambition, is the guiding light.”

The Universal Health Care bill will automatically include Filipinos into the National Health Insurance Program (NHIP). The House of Representatives has already passed its third and final reading on this in September 2017, while the Senate’s counterpart measure is still pending at its committee on health. It will be most beneficial to PWDs and tobacco victims, Emer Rojas, president of the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) was quoted as saying in a report, since it will ensure that they are especially provided for with their respective healthcare needs.

One of the most important thrusts of this administration’s medium-term development plan is to cover all Filipinos against financial health risks. That is why I have directed concerned agencies to streamline the various sources of financial assistance for people with health-related needs.” ~ Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte 

1The Republic Act No. 10932 further notes imprisonment from four to six years, or a fine from P500,000 to P1,000,000, to directors or officers of hospitals or clinics, or both. The facility’s license to operate will also be revoked after three repeated violations, and a presumption of liability shall arise against the hospital and its employees. 

2 Filipinos must just go to any PhilHealth office to register, fill out two copies of the PhilHealth Member Registration Form (PMRF), submit the PMRF to the human resources department, then await the member data record and PhilHealth ID card from employer. The contributions are shared by the employee and the employer, and could be paid monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually.

Filipino senior citizens can apply as well as those who are unemployed or self-employed. Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs)—documented or undocumented—can register, too. They only have to pay ₱2,400.00 annually or in two increments (₱1,200 every six months). Members could then have 45 days hospitalization allowance after paying at least 3 months’ worth of premiums within the immediate 6 months of confinement. Nine months’ worth of contributions in the last 12 months is needed, on the other hand, for pregnancies, the new born care package, dialysis, chemotherapy, radiotherapy and selected surgical procedures. The attending physician(s) and the health care institutions (HCI) must also be PhilHealth-accredited.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rappler

Being SPED-ready

In the Philippines, an educational institution has become “SPED-ready”: the Carmona National High School (CNHS) in Cavite.

“SPED-ready” is a term The PWD Forum will use from now on in describing schools that let students—with disabilities or none—learn together. It was its belief to either integrate special education to the basic and secondary curriculum of the schools in the Philippines or teach sign language. It would help the country’s economy if almost all of its citizens are skilled and, since its population is ageing, everyone is qualified to meet the labor demands of globalization.

So for its part, the CNHS has launched socialization activities that give practical training to PWDs. “Hindi namin itinatago ang mga [estudyanteng may] IDs (intellectual disability) ditto (Here, we do not hide our students with intellectual disabilities),” CNHS principal Teresita Silan was quoted in a report.

It has inspired high school student Bernadette Levardo to hang out instead of tucking herself in. She now aims to be a chef, buy a house, and own a restaurant.

“Through the transition program, Bernadette was trained, she improved her social skills, and it boosted her confidence. I was even amazed she was able to deliver a speech just recently in senior high school,” her teacher, Estie Manguiat, has remarked in the same report.

Integration could allow PWDs and non-PWDs alike to develop their skills and interact independently. Even Student Inclusion Division head Nancy Pascual of the DepEd central office has come to see that development and social adaptation are much faster with interaction.

In CNHS, this is done through a seating arrangement that lets PWDs and non-PWDs sit together. Non-SPED educators are also regularly trained to be sensitive to a PWDs’ needs and pace of learning by the local government’s Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO). The school has forged partnerships with fast food chains and factories in their town, too, to promote employment.

As of now, the Philippines can already boast of schools that are “SPED-ready”. The only thing to work on is an “upgrade” of these educational institutions into learning resource centers (LRCs) to get a mainstream school enroll PWDs.

“Specialized equipment are lodged in the learning resource centers. Any school that has PWD enrollment will be able to access it anytime of the year. This addresses the financial side. Instead of going to SPED schools far from their homes, they could just enroll in the nearest school to their residence, which is not necessarily a SPED center.” ~ Nancy Pascual

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Rappler