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Philippines – Disability

The Philippines, an archipelago in Southeast Asia, has a population of over 100 million people. It is a diverse country with a rich culture, but like other countries, it has its own set of challenges when it comes to disability. In this article, we will look at the common attitudes towards disability in the Philippines, the discrimination and legislation issues related to disability, public transport and building access for disabled individuals, and the lobbying/advocacy groups for the disabled.

Common Attitudes to Disability

The common attitudes towards disability in the Philippines can be described as a mix of pity, charity, and neglect. Many Filipinos view disability as a burden, and this attitude can be seen in the way people treat individuals with disabilities. While some Filipinos are kind and helpful to persons with disabilities, there are still many instances of discrimination, such as job discrimination, bullying, and teasing. Additionally, many disabled individuals in the Philippines face social isolation and are often excluded from participating in everyday activities due to the lack of accessibility.

Discrimination and Legislation Issues

Despite the passage of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons in 1992, discrimination against persons with disabilities still exists in the Philippines. One of the biggest challenges for disabled individuals is employment discrimination. Many employers still discriminate against job seekers with disabilities, and those who are employed often face harassment and lack of reasonable accommodations. Discrimination is also seen in public transportation, where disabled persons often struggle to access public transportation and are sometimes not allowed to ride buses or jeepneys.

There is also a lack of accessibility in public spaces, such as sidewalks, government offices, and schools. Although the law requires buildings to be accessible, many buildings in the Philippines are not equipped with ramps, elevators, or other accommodations, making it difficult for disabled persons to navigate these spaces.

Public Transport and Building Access

Public transport and building access for disabled individuals in the Philippines are challenging. While some public buses and jeepneys have ramps or lifts, many do not. In some cases, bus drivers refuse to allow disabled persons to board the bus, and those who do are often forced to travel in uncomfortable positions due to the lack of designated seats. The situation is similar with trains, where only a few train stations have wheelchair ramps or elevators.

Building access for disabled persons is also a challenge. While some new buildings are designed to be accessible, many older buildings are not equipped with ramps or elevators, making it difficult for disabled persons to access these spaces. Sidewalks and pedestrian crossings are also not always designed with the needs of disabled persons in mind, with many sidewalks being uneven or blocked, making it difficult to navigate with a wheelchair.

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Lobbying/Advocacy Groups

There are several organizations in the Philippines that advocate for the rights of disabled persons. One of these organizations is the Philippine Association of Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities (PACDLD), which provides services to people with developmental and learning disabilities, such as vocational training, education, and counseling. Another organization is the Autism Society Philippines, which provides services and support to people with autism and their families.

The Alyansa ng May Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP-Pinoy) is another organization that advocates for the rights of disabled persons in the Philippines. AKAP-Pinoy is a coalition of different organizations that work together to promote the rights of disabled persons and push for legislative reforms that benefit disabled individuals. They also provide services to disabled persons, such as skills training and job placement programs.

While the Philippines has made progress in promoting the rights and welfare of people with disabilities, there is still much work to be done. Attitudes towards people with disabilities are slowly changing, but discrimination and stigma still exist. Additionally, the lack of accessibility in public transport and buildings can make it difficult for people with disabilities to fully participate in society. However, advocacy groups like PADS, NCDA, and PBU are working hard to promote disability rights and improve accessibility in the Philippines.

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