Senate bill calls for expanded privileges for people with disabilities

Franco Luna – Philstar.com

November 21, 2022 | 4:17 p.m.

MANILA, Philippines — A new Senate bill pushes for expanded privileges for people with disabilities, including employers who choose to hire people with disabilities.

In introducing Senate Bill 1433, Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Service, Government Reorganization and Occupational Regulation, pointed out that the number of people with disabilities in the Philippines is increasing. regularly.

Under this measure, incentives are given to employers who hire persons with disabilities as regular employees, while persons with disabilities receive a monthly allowance of PWD 500 on the condition that they are not covered by any other employment program. government assistance.

If the proposal is adopted, private entities that employ people with disabilities as regular employees will be entitled to an additional deduction from their gross income, equivalent to 50% of the total amount paid as wages and salaries to people with disabilities.

The Philippine Statistics Authority reported in May 2019 that, according to the results of its National Disability Prevalence Survey, in 2016 approximately 12% of Filipinos aged 15 and older had severe disabilities. Almost one in two (47%) had a moderate disability while 23% had a mild disability.

According to the report, only one-fifth (19%) experienced no disability.

Assistive devices, assistive technology services for people with disabilities

Revilla, who also chairs the Senate Public Works Committee, has pushed for free assistive devices and assistive technology services in the workplace for people with disabilities, which are also exempt from passport processing fees.

It should be noted that the bill also strikes out any mention of “persons with disabilities” and designates people in the sector as “persons with disabilities”.

Although the last existing census of the disabled community in the country was conducted in 2010, a 2017 study by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies out of 1,031 adult women and 823 children with disabilities in two cities, the majority of respondents were disabled (39.7%).

In his report on the Philippines in 2018the US State Department has asserted in its national reports on human rights practices that “the vast majority of public buildings remain inaccessible to persons with physical disabilities” in the country.

A 2018 study by the Center for Local and Regional Governance at the University of the Philippines found that only six out of 10 local governments in the country had established a dedicated office for disability affairs.

Last week, Senator Mark Villar also introduced Senate Bill 1446 making ATMs accessible to visually impaired people.

Senator Jinggoy Estrada also introduced Senate Bill No. 1442 providing equal cash incentives for domestic athletes and athletes with disabilities who win medals in international sports competitions.

Norman D. Briggs