Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-list Rep. Jericho Nograles dared local government officials to try using a wheelchair and experience the difficulties of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the elderly in accessing pubic spaces and public transportation.
The lawmaker issued the challenge amid proposals requiring public officials to commute every Monday for them to experience the difficulties experienced by commuters in Metro Manila’s traffic situation.
“Mas magandang panawagan kaysa sa mag-commute ang mga government officials ay mga LGUs (local government units), na sila ay for one day, perhaps, on PWD day, try nila na naka-wheelchair sila at umikot sila sa kanilang mga LGU at dun ninyo makikita kung totoo bang ine-enforce ang ating mga PWD laws, ang accessibility laws,” Nograles said in a press conference.
(A better call than requiring public officials to commute is for LGU officials to try moving around their community in a wheelchair and see for themselves if the laws for PWDs, the accessibility laws, are truly enforced.)
Nograles, was referring to Republic Act No. 7277, or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons,” which ensures, among others, the attainment of a barrier-free environment that will enable disabled persons to have access in public and private buildings and establishments and such other places mentioned in Batas Pambansa Bilang 344, otherwise known as the Accessibility Law.
Nograles said when it comes to compliance with the law, most LGUs probably have failed.
“So, mas mabigat na panawagan siguro kaysa sa commute (I think the harder challenge than commuting is): try being on a wheelchair for a day, whether ikaw ang magtulak ng wheelchair ng isang senior citizen o isang PWD, or ikaw mismo ang mag-wheelchair (you push the wheelchair of a senior citizen or a PWD or use a wheelchair yourself)” he said.
“The point is that awareness will allow people to understand,” Nograles said. (PNA)