PIA News Service - Monday, July 27, 2009

DOLE-Caraga conducts Industry Forum for PWDs

BUTUAN CITY (Juy 27) – In an effort to strengthen implementation of persons with disabilities (PWDs) rights and privileges, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Caraga conducted here recently the Industry Forum on Legislation, Policies and Guidelines for PWDs.

The activity aims to provide awareness to private establishments, union leaders, local government units (LGUs) and national government agencies (NGAs) pertaining to laws relative to the rights and privileges of disabled persons to equal opportunity for employment.

Along this line, DOLE-Caraga awarded a livelihood check of P60,000 to Claver Association of Workable Disable, a PWD organization of Claver.

“To date, DOLE Caraga has helped 25 PWD organizations or groups in the region amounting to P2.45 million,” says Director Chona Mantilla of DOLE Caraga.

The livelihood assistance is provided by DOLE through the Tulong Alalay sa Taong may Kapansanan or TULAY program. Tulay assists in the integration of PWDs in the mainstream of society thru employment and training.

The activity is in line with this year’s theme: “Tungo sa Karapatan ng PWDs”.

This year’s theme stresses the importance of the proper implementation of the laws for PWDs on employment, accessibility and health among others for the sector’s empowerment.

The PWDs rights are embodied in Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, Republic Act 9442, an amendment of RA 7277 and Batas Pambansa Blg. 344.

One of the provisions of RA 7277 is that 5% of all casual, emergency and contractual positions shall be required for disabled persons. Unfortunately, few establishments even government offices employed PWDs.

DOLE as the mandated agency to promote employment admits that the employment of PWDs is one of their weakest links.

“Despite the provisions of the law, few PWDs are formally employed. Even government offices do not follow the requirement that 5 percent of their employees should be PWDs,” disclosed Director Chona Mantilla of DOLE. (Lovely Laudette D. Gamba, PIA-Caraga)


PWDs poured out grievances over ill implemented laws

BUTUAN CITY (Juy 27) – Persons with disabilities (PWDs) poured out their grievances over what they claimed as ill implemented laws on differently-abled individuals during the Industry Forum on Legislation, Policies and Guidelines for PWDs, here, this city, recently.

PWDs present during the forum reveal that the law is not well implemented. They clamor for the implementation of the accessibility law and the 20 percent discount on medicines.

“30 years after the enactment of Batas Pambansa 344 or the accessibility law, most buildings in Butuan still don’t have accessibility features, even a ramp,” laments Mr. Ritchie Ravelo, Butuan Association of Differently-Abled Persons (BADAP).

Jonathan Tuan, a PWD disclose that he was never able to avail of the 20 percent discounts on medicines. He said that even though his disability is obvious, pharmacies asked for IDs and medicine prescription before they can avail of the discount.

“I have been a PWD since birth and I have never been able to avail of the 20 percent discount on medicines. It seems there are always requirements they need before giving us the 20 percent discount,” relates Jonathan Tuan.

Others divulge that there are some pharmacies that do not really give discounts despite having IDs and prescriptions.

The PWDs also push for the deletion of the “mentally and physically fit” clause in the qualification advertisements of establishments so as not to discourage PWDs from applying for the job.

During the forum, it was learned that despite laws relative to the rights and privileges of disabled persons to equal opportunity for employment, few PWDs are formally employed because of limitations set by establishments both public and private.

Although the provision of RA 7277 states that 5% of all casual, emergency and contractual positions shall be required for disabled person, few establishments even government offices employed PWDs.

DOLE as the mandated agency to promote employment admits that the employment of PWDs is one of their weakest links.

“Despite the provisions of the law, few PWDs are formally employed. Even government offices do not follow the requirement that 5 percent of their employees should be PWDs,” disclosed Director Chona Mantilla of DOLE. (Lovely Laudette D. Gamba, PIA-Caraga)



CDA Caraga to promote Caraga cooperatives’ products

BUTUAN CITY (July 27) – In line with the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) month celebration and in a bid to promote the products of producer cooperatives, the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) Caraga will conduct a press conference on July 29 at the CDA Conference Room.

The press conference is expected to showcase the importance of cooperatives in building small businesses which are seen as catalyst in nation-building.

The region’s cooperative sector, based on records shows steady financial growth and is progressing despite the present economic crisis.

Cooperatives could well be expected to become one of the biggest job generator and economic booster in the region for the years to come.

The coop products are currently displayed at the Cooperative Products Display Showroom at the CDA regional office. Most members and owners are the common folks of the countryside, and the press conference is seen as a venue to promote their products to the region.

CDA programs, PhilExport and other agencies that will assist in developing businesses will be discussed during the press conference.

The Alliance of Caraga Producers Cooperatives, Regional Cooperative Development Council (RCDC) Caraga, MSMED Council of Caraga, PhilExport Caraga, Department of Trade and Industry and Department of Tourism will be present during the press conference. (Lovely Laudette Gamba, PIA-Caraga)