By Charissa M. Luci-Atienza
The vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations wants to make automated teller machines (ATMs) accessible to visually-impaired individuals.
Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Raymund Villafuerte has filed House Bill 7272 requiring ATMs to have both a visual and audio transmission system.
“In the digital age especially, where screens are operated with the help of sight and touch, persons with disabilities are handicapped to perform even the simplest of routines in the modern era, such as banking using ATMs,” the House leader said.
Citing the Department of Health (DOH), he noted that over 300,000 people in the country are bilaterally blind, while over two million have bilateral low vision.
“The State’s promotion of the welfare and development of the PWDs in the country is itself constitutional and was the wisdom that inspired the enactment of the Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, as amended,” Villafuerte said.
“However, there remains a lack in foresight for the digital age for visually-impaired persons. Nowadays, ATMs are touch-screened enabled and buttons with Braille labels are sparse. There lacks a non-visual method for these types of machines,” he laments.
Under House Bill 7272 or the proposed ATM Visually-Impaired Friendly Act, any ATM installed on or after the effectivity of the proposed Act shall transmit any message through both a visual transmission system, and an audio transmission system.
The measure also provides that any ATMs installed prior to the passage of the proposed Act, shall be upgraded or replaced in such a manner so that it shall transmit any message through a visual transmission system and an audio transmission system.