Government Action on Disability Policy
A Global Survey
Part II - Government Replies as Country Profiles
Download 'Government Reports on the UN Standard Rules' as a PDF file (440 KB)
© Dimitris Michailakis 1997
Transmitted by Permanent Mission to the United Nations, New York (29 March 1996)
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The officially recognized disability policy in the Philippines is expressed in law, in guidelines adopted by the Government and in guidelines adopted by the national disability council. The national disability policy very strongly emphasizes prevention, rehabilitation, accessibility and anti-discrimination whereas the emphasis on individual support is weaker.
Since the adoption of the Standard Rules the Government has supported the following information campaigns, conveying the message of full participation: Distribution of the Rules to Government and non-Government organizations; Discussion during meetings/consultation with self-help groups of persons with disabilities.
The rights of persons with disabilities are protected by special and general legislation. The judicial mechanism adopted to protect the rights of persons with disabilities is due process (legal remedy through courts). There is also a Governmental body (administrative) for the same purpose.
The general legislation applies to all categories of persons with different disabilities with respect to: education, employment, the right to marriage, the right to parenthood/family, political rights, access to court-of-law, right to privacy, property rights. The following benefits are guaranteed by law to persons with disabilities: health and medical care, training, rehabilitation and counselling, employment, and participation in decisions affecting them.
No new legislation has been enacted since the adoption of the Rules, although local ordinances affecting persons with disabilities have been issued.
There are laws and regulations ensuring accessibility in the build environment requiring that public places, the outdoor environment, land, sea and air transportation are made accessible. A national authority, local Governments and the constructor review the operation of accessibility standards. The following measures have been promoted by the Government in order to facilitate accessibility in the build environment: levelling off pavements, marking parking areas, installing lifts, accessible toilets, ensuring access to public places. Special transport arrangements include discounted fare programme for persons with disabilities. Discounted fare is available in any kind of travel. When planning to build accessible environments the most difficult obstacles are: attitudinal factors, economic/budgetary factors, lack of planning and design-capacity, lack of enforcement mechanisms. There is a disability awareness component incorporated in the training of planners, architects and construction engineers.
Sign language for deaf people is recognized as the official language of deaf people, is used as the first language in education of deaf people, and is recognized as the main means of communication between deaf persons and others. There are Government measures for encouraging media and other forms of public information to make their services accessible. There is a co-ordination with NGO's providing communication services to persons with disabilities. The following services are provided in order to facilitate information and communication between persons with disabilities and other persons: literature in Braille/tape, sign language interpretation, available for any purpose.
Organizations of persons with disabilities
There is a national umbrella organization. There are legal provisions mandating the representatives of persons with disabilities to participate in policy-making and to work with Governmental institutions. Organizations are always consulted when laws with a disability aspect are being prepared. Consultations with organizations take place at the national, regional and local levels. The Government gives a limited financial support and technical assistance to organizations. Persons with disabilities participate to some extent in judiciary and political parties and to a great extent in Government, legislature and NGOs. The organizations in Philippines have the role to: advocate rights and improved services, mobilize persons with disabilities, identify needs and priorities, participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of services and measures, contribute to public awareness, provide services, and promote/organize income generating activities.
Co-ordination of work
The national co-ordinating committee is attached to the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The committee includes representatives of several Ministries, of organizations of persons with disabilities, and other NGOs. The Government expects the national co-ordinating committee to participate in policy development and to perform other tasks such as co-ordination, monitoring and advocacy of disability matters. According to the Government the establishment of the co-ordinating committee has had the following effects: improved co-ordination of measures/programmes, improved legislation and integration of responsibility, a better dialogue in the disability field, more effective use of resources, and improved promotion of public awareness.
The Philippines always as stated by the Government, been guided by the UN world programmes of Action and more recently by the Agenda for Action of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons. Similarly, the Standard Rules have further strengthened the development of programmes for Filipinos with disabilities.
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