Sigma, Capiz – More than 60 local government officials of the municipality, including all of the 21 barangay (village) captains, participated in the Awareness Raising on Disability Rights of Handicap International (HI). Moreover, officers and members of Sigma Disabled People’s Organization (DPO) Federation participated in the activity.
The activity was conducted in the frame of the Restoring Livelihoods and Building the Resilience of Most Vulnerable People Affected by Typhoon Haiyan (iRESTORE) Project and was facilitated by Edward Ello, HI’s Inclusion Advisor, who also served as the resource person for the sessions.
“We want the local government officials to understand what iRESTORE is and have a better understanding of persons with disabilities’ rights, situation, issues/concerns,” said Ello. “The sad fact is that not all local government officials are aware of the laws and policies concerning persons with disabilities hence, they are uninformed of their responsibilities to their constituents who belong to the sector,” he furthered.
The laws and policies that Ello was referring to are the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities (Republic Act No. 7277) and its amendments (RA 9442 and RA 10524) and the Persons with Disability Affairs Office Law (RA 10070).
Officers and members of the municipality’s DPO Federation shared their experiences during the sessions, which made the local government officials realize the situation of persons with disabilities in their homes and communities.
Before the sessions ended, Ello asked the local government officials for their commitments to protect the rights and address the issues/concerns of persons with disabilities. Three major commitments that the barangay captains made are 1) provision of support in the formation of DPOs in their barangays; 2) allocation of budget for programs and projects for persons with disabilities; and 3) the inclusion of persons with disabilities to the Barangay Development Plan.
To ensure that the barangays will adhere to the commitments made, the Sigma DPO Federation will closely coordinate with the officials. They will also provide the assistance that the barangay needs in carrying out the commitments.