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Solon dares public execs to use wheelchairs to see poor state of accessibility in PH

MANILA, Philippines — Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta Rep. Jericho Nograles on Tuesday dared public officials, especially those from the local government units (LGUs), to try using a wheelchair and experience the difficulties of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and the elderly in accessing buildings and public transportation.

Nograles issued the challenge in light of ligan City Rep. Frederick Siao’s suggestion over the weekend to require public officials to commute every Monday to help “ease traffic congestion and vehicle volume on the roads of Metro Manila.”

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“Mas magandang panawagan kaysa sa mag-commute ang mga government officials ay mga LGUs, na sila ay for one day, perhaps, PWD day, try nila na naka-wheelchair sila at umikot sila sa kanilang mga LGU at dun ninyo makikita kung totoo bang ine-enforce ang ating mga PWD laws, ang accessibility laws,” the party-list representative said in a press conference.

[A better call than requiring public officials to commute is for LGU officials to try moving around their area in a wheelchair and see for themselves if the laws on accessibility for PWDs are truly enforced.]

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“Try being on a wheelchair for a day whether ikaw ang magtulak ng wheelchair ng isang senior citizen o isang PWD, or ikaw mismo ang mag-wheelchair [either you push someone’s wheelchair or sit on it yourself]” he added, clarifying later on that other government officials may also accept the dare.

The congressman was referring to Republic Act No. 7277, as amended, or the “Magna Carta for Disabled Persons” which spells out the rights of PWDs to a “barrier-free environment” that would enable to have access in public and private buildings and establishments and such other places mentioned in Batas Pambansa Bilang 344 or the Accessibility Law.

Nograles said he has never used a wheelchair but he had tried using scooter, bicycle, riding the Metro Rail Transit, and other means of public transport.

“The point is that awareness will allow people to understand…” he said.

When it comes to Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas’ challenge that public officials live through a minimum wage, the lawmaker said this should be “debated properly.” The Makabayan opposition bloc in the House may file a bill amending the Salary Standardization Law which mandates the wage to be received by government employees and officials, he added.

READ: Aside from commuting, solon says public officials should get minimum wage

Last Friday, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo accepted the dare of groups to commute from Marikina City to the Malacañang complex in Manila after he repeatedly denied that the capital region is facing a “mass transportation crisis.”

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READ: Early riser, jeepney rider Panelo still 46 minutes late for work

Bagong Alyansang Makabayan Secretary-General Renato Reyes had concluded that a “mass transport crisis” is gripping Metro Manila after the three major railways of the metropolis — MRT-3 and LRT Lines 1 and 2– were bogged down by glitches last October 2-3.  /muf

READ: Panelo tells public to ‘be creative’ as he rides jeepney to Malacañang

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