Note: This is a repost from the Philippine Daily Inquirer Online Edition.
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Disabled ask Aquino gov’t to recognize rights
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
First Posted 20:11:00 07/15/2010
MANILA, Philippines – Their physical handicap it appears, is not the biggest battle confronting persons with disabilities (PWDs). It is the government’s inability to implement the laws that protect their rights that is their biggest challenge.
Bonding together, the PWDs have asked the Aquino administration to recognize their rights under the law, especially the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities that gives them 20 percent discount for medicine purchase.
Abner Manlapaz of the National Council on Disability Affairs said a number of drugstores, including giant drug retailer Mercury Drug and the Drug Store Association of the Philippines (DSAP), refuse to follow the law.
For this, Manlapaz said his group was considering filing a class suit against these drug stores.
“We are gathering materials and preparing for a possible class suit,” he said in a news conference in Quezon City, organized in connection with the 32nd National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week.
The partylist group Akbayan also said it would file a resolution soon to look into the practices of Mercury Drug and other drug store that refuse to give the mandated 20 percent discount.
“It’s not a joke to spend for medicine for one’s maintenance, that’s why we were so disappointed that we are being deprived of this privilege,” said Lauro Purcil Jr., board of governor of the Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas Inc.
Medicines are vital to the day-to-day existence of PWD, including children with AD/HD, autism, seizure disorder and other intellectual disabilities. Cancer survivors are also heavily dependent on medicines, Manlapaz said.
But Mercury Drug and the DSAP refuse to give the discount.
Manlapaz said PWD was also facing difficulty moving around Metro Manila because of unfriendly structures such as footbridges.
He said footbridges built around the city did not have access for people on wheelchair and elders.
Only 30 percent of the country’s churches have wheelchair access, he added.
Running priest Robert Reyes has vowed to join in the cause of the PWD. He said he planned to jog from the National Housing Authority near the Quezon Memorial Circle to the office of the Commission on Human Rights along Commonwealth Avenue pushing a person on wheelchair to raise the problems of the PWD before the human rights body.