By Betheena Kae Unite
An access audit on both private and public establishments would be conducted to ensure the safety of persons with disabilities in all places, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said.
The National Council of Disability Affairs (NCDA) met with the DPWH recently to discuss the monitoring adherence to the Batas Pambansa 344, also known as the Accessibility Law, which concerns the mobility of persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Accessibility for PWDs, according to executive director Carmen Zubiaga, NCDA office-in-charge, should be complied by school buildings, government offices, roads, parking lots and even temporary shelters and evacuation centers to the accessibility requirements of PWDs.
Zubiaga also reiterated the importance of PWD-friendly infrastructure facilities like ramps, toilets, and handrails in all public places.
The NCDA, Zubiaga said, recognized DPWH for being proactive in ensuring that the rights of PWDs are respected and well-exercised by setting the standards for other buildings.
DPWH Assistant Secretary Tingagun Umpa, who recently assumed as the DPWH permanent NCDA focal person, replacing Assistant Secretary Eugenio R. Pipo Jr., vowed that the agency will “continuously comply with BP344 and ensure that establishments will be accessible to everyone, especially PWDs.”
Establishments were also reminded that noncompliance with to the Accessibility Law has a corresponding penalty or sanction.
Under the law, the DPWH was tasked to see if establishments, private or public, provide architectural facilities or structural features for the benefit of disabled persons.