PWDs in PH continue to face discrimination

ACCORDING to the U.S. State Department in its annual human rights report released Thursday, March 14, persons with disabilities (PWD) in the Philippines “continued to face discrimination”in 2018 as a policy crafted to help them “was not effectively enforced.”

The report, entitled “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018,” said the National Council for Disability Affairs crafted a policy for the rehabilitation, self-development, and self-reliance of PWDs but the “law was not effectively enforced, and many barriers remained for persons with disabilities.”

It also noted that majority of public buildings remained inaccessible to PWDs.

“Many schools had architectural barriers that made attendance difficult for persons with disabilities. Government efforts to improve access to transportation for persons with disabilities were limited,” it said.

“The Department of Education’s 648 separate education centers did not provide nationwide coverage, and the government lacked a clear system for informing parents of children with disabilities of their educational rights and did not have a well-defined procedure for reporting discrimination in education,” it added.

The report also said policies for PWDs were ineffective due to weak implementation, insufficient funding, and inadequately focused integrative government programs, citing information from advocacy groups in the country.

Services for 3,374 PWDs were provided by the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 2018 which is “significantly more” than estimated figures in 2017. However, only 60 percent of local government units had an office dedicated for PWDs, the report further noted.

It also pointed out that among the policies that level the field for PWDs were the Mental Health Law and a constitutional provision that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities.

However, PWDs still faced discrimination in seeking jobs.

“Persons with disabilities experienced discrimination in hiring and employment. The labor department estimated that only 10 percent of employable persons with disabilities were able to find work,” the report said.

Since 1977, the US State Department has been producing annual human rights reports on all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations member states. 

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