Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed Republic Act 10070, a law establishing the institutional mechanism to ensure the implementation of programs and services for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in every province, city and municipality, as envisioned by RA 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
The law, signed last April 6, promotes the creation of organizations of PWDs in their respective territorial jurisdictions. National agencies and local government units may enter into joint ventures with organizations or associations of PWDs to explore livelihood opportunities and other undertakings that shall enhance the health, physical fitness and economic and social well-being of PWDs.
The law mandates the creation of Persons with Disability Affairs Office [PDAO] in every province, city and municipality with the local chief executive appointing a PWD affairs officer to manage and oversee the operations of the office. Priority shall be given to a qualified PWD to head and man the office in carrying out the following functions:
- Formulate and implement policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs in coordination with concerned national and local government agencies.
- Coordinate the implementation of this Act, Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 or the Accessibility Law and other relevant laws at the local level.
- Represent PWDs in meetings of local development councils and other special bodies.
- Recommend and enjoin the participation of NGOs and people’s organizations (POs) in the implementation of
disability-related laws and policies.
- Gather and compile relevant data on PWDs in their localities.
- Disseminate information including programs and activities for PWDs, statistics on PWDs, including children with disability and training and employment opportunities for PWDs.
- Submit reports to the office of the local chief executive on the implementation of programs and services for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
- Ensure that the policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs are funded by both the national and local government.
- Monitor fundraising activities being conducted for the benefit of PWDs.
- Seek donations in cash or kind from local or foreign donors to implement an approved work plan for PWDs in accordance with existing laws and regulations.
- Perform such other functions as may be necessary for the promotion and protection of the welfare of PWDs.
Within three years from the effectivity of this Act, appropriate agencies headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in consultation with the National Council on Disability Affairs and other relevant NGOs and POs shall review the implementation and recommend to Congress the need to mandate the establishment of a PDAO in 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities.
The national government, through the DSWD, shall ensure that the annual budget includes provisions to fund programs and provide support to PWDs. Local governments shall ensure that the necessary funds from any available local revenue are allocated for the implementation of this Act for the benefit of PWDs.
This very important law for PWDs did not create any buzz in the national arena. This might be because the people are more focused on the last elections. However, this will be very exciting for us because the local government units will not take us for granted anymore. They must create their own special office which caters purely on the needs and assistance for Persons With Disabilities. I hope that this won’t be just another flash in a pan.