“My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. Don’t be disabled in spirit as well as physically.” –Stephen Hawking
Hopefully, before the Congress of the Philippines adjourns tomorrow, June 7, Senator Franklin Drilon will help expedite the Senate version of House Bill 9106, which seeks to grant additional entitlements to individuals with disabilities. The bill is an amendment to RA 7277, or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), and will include mandatory employment at both government offices and in the private sector.
While there are other senators who can prioritize passage of the bill, Drilon may hold the golden key as he is close with the bill’s chief sponsor. The bill was penned by outgoing Iloilo City lone district representative and Iloilo City Mayor-elect Jerry Treñas.
“The House has already approved this new PWD bill and it’s now up to the Senate to do the same,” Treñas stated. “I’m not losing hope that we can still pass this into law.”
If signed into law, government offices would be required to fill two percent of all positions with PWDs; the same parameters also apply to private firms with over 1,000 employees (for those with less employees, the requirement drops to one percent).
In addition to mandated employment, the employee in question would also be eligible for a P500 monthly stipend; exemption from passport processing fees, terminal fees, and other fees assessed by airports, ports, and other travel terminals or related government agencies; lifetime validity for PWD identification cards; and employers would be provided with necessary assistive technology to accommodate for the said employee.
Compliant employers will also be provided tax deductions./WDJ
Alex P. Vidal, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ