Local gov’t offices, supermarkets in Davao violating law for PWDs

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/ 14 December) – The local government offices and supermarkets in Davao City have been warned to modify some features of their buildings to address the accessibility concerns of persons with disabilities (PWDs), an official from the Regional Committee on Disability Affairs RCDA said.

RCDA spokesperson Melacio Fernandez said during the Kapihan sa Philippine Information Agency on Friday that they will inspect government offices and major malls in the city in March 2019 to find out if these have complied with Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and Batas Pambansa 344 known as the Accessibility Law.

Section 25 of RA 7277 provides that “the state shall ensure the attainment of a barrier-free environment that will enable disabled persons to have access in public and private buildings and such other places as mentioned” in the Accessibility Law enacted in 1983.

The Accessibility Law seeks “to enhance the mobility of disabled persons by requiring certain buildings, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities.”

Fernandez said the RCDA will serve non-compliant government offices and supermarkets up to three notices, and take legal action if they fail to comply.

The RCDA comprises regional directors of various government offices, governors, mayors, and district representatives, he said.

He questioned the City Building Office why it allowed the issuance of certificates of compliance to private buildings allowing them to operate despite failing to comply with the law.

He also said the Department of Public Works and Highways-Davao has committed to modify some streets in the city because it remains difficult for PWDs to cross them if both ends of the pedestrian lanes have gutters.

“We have so many pedestrian lanes but the persons with disabilities are not enjoying it. Our streets have gutters on the both ends of the pedestrian lanes that make it hard for our wheelchair users. That is common sense,” he said.

He said the DPWH-Davao has a budget for the construction of ramps along the streets. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)