Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure seeking to ensure that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) are given easy access to basic needs, including healthcare, education, employment, and the proper interventions required of their disability.
De Lima refiled her National Commission for Disability Affairs (NCDA) Bill, now logged as Senate Bill No. 188, transforming the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) into a full-blown commission to address the gaps in promoting the rights of PWDs.
“This bill seeks to establish the National Commission for Disability Affairs to replace the National Council for Disability Affairs,” she said.
“As a Commission, it shall be able to further strengthen its role as the primary agency responsible for the implementation of policies aimed at fulfilling the rights of the PWD sector,” she added.
In filing her proposed measure, De Lima said that PWDs are prone to economic deprivation because they have lower earning capacity, and that the expenses attributable to disability create an extra drain on resources.
De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, recalled that in fact, the last official survey on PWDs in the Philippines was conducted in 2010 which pegged the number of PWDs at 16 for every 1,000 Filipinos.
Based on the official figures, out of the estimated 92.1 million household population in 2010, there are at least 1.4 million people with disabilities – or 1.57 percent of the entire population had disability.
“The lack of authoritative information on disability and significant demographic and socio-economic data about the PWD sector remains to be one of the major challenges towards disability inclusion in the society and the economy,” she said.
Under SB No. 188, the NCDA shall address the lack of comprehensive data on PWDs by leading the conduct of a National Registration Program for Persons with Disabilities through the Philippine Statistics Authority, in consultation with partner agencies and experts on the field.
The Commission is also mandated to oversee and recommend measures for the effective conduct of a comprehensive assessment program for PWDs on a provincial, city and municipal level and conduct research on PWD concerns and central repository of data on the sector.
A social justice and human rights champion, De Lima as also authored several measures concerning the welfare of PWDs including, among others, SB No. 1433 or the “Autism Care Act” and Senate Resolution No. 7277 seeking to conduct an inquiry on the status of the Accessibility Law and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
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