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The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) through the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) celebrated the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week through various channels.

Labor Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III reiterated the Department’s determination in pushing for inclusive growth especially for persons with disability.

“As we celebrate the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week, the Department of Labor and Employment guarantees to push for more policies and programs that will protect the welfare and rights of persons with disability. The Department moves to respond to the challenges brought by the economic crisis, and together we will rekindle the fire of change and growth towards an inclusive labor society,” Bello addressed in a message published in a newspaper.

During the NDPR Week that ran from July 17 to 23, 2020, the BWSC conducted different online activities in partnership with the Project Inclusion Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization that has been a partner of the Department in promoting equal access for persons with disability.

An online survey was launched which aimed to determine the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on persons with disability in employment and entrepreneurship, and document their needs to be able to participate in the labor and entrepreneurial market.

Moreover, a webinar on mental health awareness was conducted on July 22, 2020, with Assistant Secretary Ma. Teresita S. Cucueco as one of the panelists. She discussed the DOLE Department Order 208-20 or the Guidelines for the Implementation of Mental Health Workplace Policies and Programs for the Private Sector.

Undersecretary Ana C. Dione gave the opening remarks during the webinar, echoing that during this trying time, the psychological well-being of the workers, especially those from the vulnerable sector like the working persons with disability, is also equally important as their physical health, to ensure their holistic welfare.

“We hope that we are able to advance our mental health advocacy by informing and promoting basic education on mental health in the workplace. The promotion and enhancement of workers’ well-being, especially of the persons with disability, are very essential to have a healthy and productive lives,” Dione added.

On the other hand, the BWSC determined the need of persons with disability to keep with the “new normal”. With that, the Bureau partnered with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) in the distribution of 30 units of pocket WiFi for persons with disability. These pocket WiFi units will be a great help for them in starting an online business, or having a digital career that can regain their livelihood and employment stability.

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