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In line with the celebration of the 41st National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) and the Institute for Labor Studies (ILS) partnered up for the conduct of a workshop on Disability Inclusive Governance Framework of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) last July 23, 2019 at The Bayleaf Hotel, Intramuros, Manila.

Participated by all the focal persons of the Department’s bureaus, services, and attached agencies, the workshop primarily served as input sharing for the development of the Disability Inclusive Governance Framework that will mainstream disability inclusive development in all the policies, programs and services of the Department.

Undersecretary Ana C. Dione assured that the Department will continue to advocate for the PWD sector regardless of any celebration.

“We have to take it by heart. Kahit na walang celebration, kasama ang sector na ito sa ating mga programa. Policy-wise and program-wise, we always include this sector, and as you go on today’s activity, take the angle of appropriate intervention,” she remarked as she opened the program.

On the other hand, Mateo A. Lee, Jr., Officer-in-Charge of the National Council on Disability Affairs, also gave few insights that will help in the formulation of the framework. He said, “Try to incorporate with your labor inspection checklist if compliant ang mga companies when it comes to architectural facilities or structural features for persons with disabilities. Sa framework dapat lumabas ‘yan,” he said.

He also added that the role of the Department is to issue a certification to companies proving that they are employing persons with disabilities for them to be able to avail the tax incentives. Moreover, he asked that the persons with disabilities be included in regular job fairs.

Elyzabeth Flores Cureg of the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance-Center for Local and Regional Governance presented a study on the assessment of local mechanisms for programs and services for persons with disabilities by the Local Government Units.

After that, four workshop sessions were done to identify the gaps in the DOLE’s programs and services. It started with a journey mapping wherein participants shared their memorable experience involving persons with disabilities. It was followed by personal identification which includes their perception of persons with disabilities, and was assessed by persons with disabilities including Raphael Torralba, a person with affected hearing from the Department of Foreign Affairs.

Third and fourth sessions focused on identifying the gaps and providing visions for PWD-accessible DOLE in terms of infrastructure, ICT and IEC materials, programs and frontline services, and data and knowledge management.

To close the workshop, Assistant Secretary Benjo Santos Benavidez gave some words of support. He said, “It is part of being acclimatized to the standing of the persons with disabilities so you will have a better understanding of their needs. Because without understanding, you will not know the right law or regulation to implement.”

“We need to walk our talk, not only for the vast group of workers but also for the persons with disabilities. I am asking you to participate in the drafting [of the framework], because every worker must attain full, decent, and productive employment. If we spouse decent work, we spouse decent work for all especially for persons with disabilities,” he added.

END/mpfrianeza

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