Tag Archives: PWD-Friendly Cities

Rockville

There is a book pertaining to people with disabilities (PWDs) that eight of the residents in this city co-authored.

It’s entitled “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities” that builds upon the idea of promoting wellness and disease prevention to everyone. Challenges abound to the well-being of PWDs. Their health should just be placed squarely among the public health issues being researched, delivered, financed, trained, and studied upon.

Those residents are H. Stanley Eichenauer, Monique Fountain, Merle McPherson, Jeanne McDowell, Ruby Neville, Jon Perez, Bonnie Strickland, and Steven Towle.

There are also support groups in Rockville for PWDs such as The Arc of Montgomery County along the Southlawn Lane and the Head Injury Rehabilitation & Referral Services, Inc. (HIRRS). There is the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes (JFGH) that can help PWDs adjust into the “adult community.”

Other organizations in the city share the same vision. The Kennedy Employment Program can let PWDs “grow, share and develop as independent adults.” The St. Coletta of Greater Washington can guide PWDs “to live as full and independent a life as possible.” The Outcome Service can assist PWDs in finding jobs.

Even in the field of sports, Rockville supports its residents with disabilities. It is where the Disabled Sport USA is, a community-based chapter network that aims to improve the lives of PWDs through sports. It is spearheaded by Kirk Bauer, an amputee who lost his leg from a grenade explosion in Vietnam.

“As a disabled Vietnam veteran and Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA for the past 30 years, Kirk Bauer firmly believes that the military philosophy of leadership by example is the most effective way to inspire others to dream big and achieve their goals.” ~ From the Disabled Sport USA website

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Disabled Sport USA

Malabon

Malabon is a city in the Philippines where persons with disabilities (PWDs) can have ‘special’ privileges.

They can have 20% discount from hotels, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, drugstores, hospitals, dental clinics, travel agencies, and public transportation. They can study through scholarship grants, get into all of its commercial and government establishments as quickly as possible, and have tax incentives.

These are provided the PWDs have IDs, of course.

There are also schools here—both public and private—that PWDs can go into, particularly those with hearing impairments, learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, autism, global developmental delay, cerebral palsy, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, behavioral problems, mental retardation,

These schools are the Amang Rodriguez Elementary School, Malabon Elementary School, Ninoy Aquino Elementary School, Potrero Elementary School, Bright Beginning Center for the Young, De La Salle Araneta University, Higher Ground Baptist Academy Foundation, and Total Aural-Oral Lesson for Kids Learning Center for the Deaf (T.A.L.K.) Learning Center, Inc.

The problem

But Malabon is a city a meter below sea level. It is the catch basin of floodwaters in the northern part of Metro Manila during the rainy season. Most of its barangays (villages) are submerged in sea water during high tide and are often impassable to heavy and light vehicles.

It is the primary reason that the city lags in its development, which causes multi-million damage to Malabon every year. It doesn’t help that its flood control facilities are aging and its residents would throw their garbage in esteros and canals.

So the city implemented a foreign-funded P3.5 billion mega flood control project last July 30, 2001.

Then in September 11, 2005, P15 million was allotted to construct of at least 14 pumping stations in the city’s low-lying barangays, erect river gate valves, and improve the major canals and waterways. Malabon’s engineering department would have 60 days to ease the city’s perennial problem.

About P3 billion was loaned again from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) on March 28 last year.

It completed the Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuels (Camanava) Flood Control Project by 99% last June 28, 2013.

“Complaints are mounting that PWDs are experiencing discrimination when it comes to the 20 percent discount accorded them by the law, especially when buying medicine in drug stores.” ~ Malabon City Rep. Jaye Lacson-Noel

Quezon City

Having around 27,600 persons with disabilities (PWDs) in 2010*, Quezon City has started caring for its PWD residents in August of 2009.

It has considered expanding then the D. Tuazon Elementary School so that the PWDs undergoing treatment or rehabilitation at the National Orthopedic Hospital can study there.

The city has also conducted its first summit for PWDs on this day last year with the theme, “Making Rights Real for Filipinos with Disability.” Involved in the said activity are the Social Services Development Department (SSDD), National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA), Department of Health (DOH), and the Department of Education-Special Education (DEPED-SPED) Division.

Recently, its current mayor signed Executive Order No. 10 establishing the Quezon City Persons with Disability Affairs Office (QC-PDAO). It will be the lead agency that would address the issues and concerns of PWDs, and will be manned by Arnold de Guzman from the City Planning and Development Office and Renato Cada from the City Public Employment Service Office.

The city has also assigned about 8% of the schools in it to have polling precincts for PWDs. It is ‘doing well with its wheelchair-accessible hallways’ and had given IDs for them that come along with two booklets, the Medicine Purchase Slip Booklet and the Grocery Purchase Slip Booklet.

Problem

But those are not enough.

A father of a child with autism had tried to use the PWD ID to buy his son some donuts at J.CO (SM Fairview). However, the cashier told him that the establishment would not honor the ID unless its holder is present himself/herself. The father ended paying the whole amount of the donuts even though it was his signature at the back of the card.

Dr. Eduardo Janeiro, the regional director of the Center for Health Development (CHD) also observed that there is a need to implement a national health program on disability. Psychosocial and behavioral disabilities are not mental disabilities, after all. Those with them are “educationable” as well as those with learning disabilities.

A precise data on the PWD population is also needed, according to Luz Cabauatan, focal person for PWDs of QC-SSDD. It would really do if the government would not just rely on the estimate from the World Health Organization (WHO).

The representative of the deaf community debated that their sector should not be referred to as hearing-impaired because deafness is not a pathological condition. Flerida Labanon, Regional Program Coordinator of the NCDA, called on to increase the efforts in promoting the rights of the PWDs that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has endorsed.

“PWDs are part of society. They have the same rights as everybody else.” ` Luz Cabauatan

*Or a total of 1% of the 2,751,579 household population in Quezon City.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Travis Kraft