Mayors, disability advocates, and government officials recently shared insights on how to foster disability-inclusive employment in Rizal province.
They convened in Handicap International and Tahanang Walang Hagdanan’s (TWHI) Provincial-wide Forum on Economic Development for Persons with Disabilities. The event was held at Thunderbird Resorts in Binangonan, Rizal, last August 20.
Among the 30 participants (some of whom were persons with disabilities) were Jala-Jala Mayor Narciso Villaran and Angono Mayor Jerry Calderon.
According to Joana Paula Villaflor, Project Manager of Handicap International’s REBUILD Project, the forum’s participants agreed that local government units should follow through in implementing laws such as the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities (RA 7277) and the Accessibility Law (Batas Pambansa 344).
The REBUILD Project – funded by the European Union and Swiss Solidarity – is an inclusive local development project, which also aims to assist people with disabilities find decent jobs or set up their own small businesses. It also facilitates their access to various services such as healthcare.
National Council for Disability Affairs Acting Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga also attended the forum. In her remarks, she urged participants to bolster their commitment to advancing inclusive employment in their respective municipalities.
TWHI Chief Operations Manager and Executive Vice President Jocelyn Garcia, meanwhile, highlighted the need to remove barriers that prevent people with disabilities from getting appropriate jobs. She cited the lack of ramps and elevators, among others, in or on the way to workplaces.
Lastly, National Anti-Poverty Commission’s Persons with Disabilities Sector Representative Emer Roxas explained Executive Order 417, which promotes the livelihoods and “economic independence” of persons with disabilities. He called on LGU officials to be keener on implementing the law’s provisions.
The REBUILD Project is implemented with financial support from