Ar­royo files bill for PWDS

Sun Star Bacolod - - Topstories - BY TERESA D. ELLERA

IN THE bid to up­hold the rights of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties (PWDS), Ne­gros Oc­ci­den­tal Fifth Dis­trict Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Ma. Lour­des Ar­royo filed on Wed­nes­day a bill that aims to in­sti­tu­tion­al­ize Pwd­friendly trans­porta­tion pro­gram.

House Bill No. 2224 or the “Pwd-friendly and Safe Trans­porta­tion Act” au­thored by Ar­royo is aimed at ad­dress­ing the con­cerns and rights of PWDS as com­muters.

Un­der the pro­posed mea­sure, all public util­ity ve­hi­cles (PUV) op­er­a­tors and own­ers are man­dated to up­grade their PUVS by pro­vid­ing pas­sen­ger board­ing ramps or lifts, spa­ces for wheel­chairs and other safety ac­ces­sories such as seat­belts, clamps, and grab bars to pro­vide safety and com­fort for PWD com­muters.

Ar­royo said de­spite the cur­rent ef­forts of the gov­ern­ment, there is still an urgent need for pro­grams to cater the spe­cial needs of PWDS not only in Metro Manila but in other ar­eas as well.

“It’s a good thing that we now have pointto-point (P2P) buses that are PWD friendly, but there is still no im­prove­ment for other PUVS,” Ar­royo said.

In fact, even if there are des­ig­nated seats for PWDS, they can’t even fit some of the things they

use for mo­bil­ity like wheel­chairs in­side the PUVS mak­ing their rides un­com­fort­able, she added.

The bill also re­quires the De­part­ment of Public Works and High­ways (DPWH) to des­ig­nate a cer­tain por­tion of road­way or high­way as pickup points for PWDS.

“It is a source of con­cern and a strain on PWDS when they com­mute, es­pe­cially dur­ing rush hour. They end up hav­ing to com­pete with other pas­sen­gers just to get proper and safe seat­ing,” the Ne­grense leg­is­la­tor said.

She pointed out that some driv­ers do not even want to pick up PWDS since it takes a lot of time for them to get in­side the ve­hi­cle.

Ar­royo said as­sign­ing des­ig­nated pick-up points would ad­dress the con­cern. Des­ig­nated pick up points for PWDS can bring them con­ve­nience and safety.

The first-ter­mer con­gress­woman also said that while mod­ern­iz­ing the trans­porta­tion sys­tem is vi­tal in na­tion build­ing, it is also an op­por­tu­nity to pro­mote the rights of PWDS for has­sle-free com­mut­ing.

“We should con­tinue to look for ways on how we can make com­mut­ing eas­ier for PWDS,” Ar­royo said.

When deny them of proper and Pwd-friendly trans­porta­tion sys­tem, their rights to get­ting ed­u­ca­tion and jobs as well as safety and con­ve­nience when trav­el­ing are taken away, she said.

The bill also stated that fail­ure to com­ply with the terms will be pun­ish­able with a fine of at least P200,000 to P500,000.

If passed, it will help 1.4 mil­lion PWDS across the coun­try based on the 2010 Pop­u­la­tion Cen­sus of the Philip­pine Sta­tis­tics Au­thor­ity (PSA).

Dur­ing the opening of the 18th Congress, Ar­royo filed five bills in­clud­ing that for the cre­ation of dial­y­sis wards that will pro­vide free dial­y­sis treat­ment for End Stage Re­nal Dis­ease patients.

Three of the re­main­ing bills ad­dress the needs of se­nior ci­ti­zens and PWDS, while the other bill fo­cuses on mech­a­nisms for the progress of fifth dis­trict con­stituents.

“The is­sues con­cern­ing PWDS are re­ally close to my heart since I know the chal­lenges faced by PWDS,” she said, as­sur­ing that she will con­tinue to push for pro­grams that can help im­prove their daily lives.*

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