By Analou De Vera
The Department of Tourism (DOT) said the government is set to make a communication action plan in order to improve the existing policies that will address the needs of all tourists, to promote a barrier-free tourism in the Philippines.
“A communication action plan will be prepared to strengthen the coordination of the public and private sectors in creating and implementing projects to be able to develop and provide more efficient services for PWD tourists and citizens,” the DOT said.
In the Barrier- Free Tourism meeting initiated by Nelly Dillera, director of DOT Office of Industry Manpower Development (OIMD), she said “it is imperative for the different line agencies to band together to ensure that the needs of the PWDs (persons with disabilities) are addressed.”
Representatives from the departments of public works and highways, social welfare and development, trade and industry, health, and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), had attended the said meeting.
The discussion covered challenges in providing barrier-free services such as the lack of awareness among stakeholders, and the lack of appropriate trainings among service providers – from assistive technology-friendly facilities, to equip capable personnel who can communicate with clients who are speech-impaired, or with mental health conditions, the DOT said.
NCDA representative Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga, meanwhile, reiterated the importance of “disability-inclusive development” in the country.
She said both the national government agencies (NGAs) and nongovernment organizations (NGOs) should “invest in services for persons with disabilities since it not only promotes inclusivity and accessibility, it also promotes good business.”