DAVAO CITY — The rights and welfare of Persons with Disability (PWDS) are being championed by the Regional Committee on Disability Affairs (RCDA) in Region XI by conducting provincial accessibility audits for both public and private establishments.

Through RCDA’s campaign, the said committee seeks for proper implementation of Batas Pambansa No. 344 or the Accessibility Law which requires private and public buildings to recognize the right of access to PWDs by incorporating accessibility facilities in the design and construction of structures.

According to Ferdinand Rañosa of the Department of Public Works and Highways XI (DPWH), there are various establishments in Davao Oriental that have violations and improper implementation of design for their respective accessibility facilities.

“There are certain deficiencies when it comes to accessibility but can be easily rectified and we are recommending or suggesting improvements in making non-compliant establishments barrier-free,” Rañosa said.

Engineer Darlito Palermo of the National Anti-Poverty Commission said that the impact of the campaign can easily be felt amongst PWDs like him because, through a barrier-free environment, PWDs can have access to different opportunities.

“If we apply the accessibility law, I believe that it can open more opportunities to PWDs in the form of education since, as of now, only 10% of PWDs are educated,” Engineer Palermo mentioned.

Establishments who will not comply with the specifications of the RCDA will be given a notice of non-compliance during each quarterly audit of the DPWH through the district engineering officers.

“We will conduct quarterly audits on the non-compliant establishments and we will give them up to three notices of non-compliance and if an establishment has failed to comply on the fourth audit then a case will be filed against them by the RCDA,” Rañosa said.

The PWD Regional Focal Person of the Department of Social Welfare and Development XI (DSWD) Melecio Fernandez urged to promote cooperation amongst LGUs and government agencies in upholding the rights and welfare of PWDs through the accessibility law.

“I wish to call upon provincial engineers, city engineers, and the DPWH to actively promote and implement a friendly environment for PWDs to help them reintegrate with the mainstream society,” Fernandez said. (PIA XI)