2 City Hall workers tell PWDs not to feel inferior, be productive-A A +A
Sunday, July 13, 2014
RODULFO Matas Jr., 36, operates a photocopying machine, while Reche Ardimer, 30, mans an elevator.
Both consider themselves lucky for finding work despite their disabilities.
Matas and Ardimer are among the more than 50 person-with-disability (PWD) workers of the Cebu City Government.
With the celebration of PWD Awareness Month this month, they are encouraging other PWD’s not to let fear and their disabilities hinder them from finding employment.
In an interview with Sun.Star Cebu, Matas said he knew of several PWD’s who never found work because of their fear to be rejected since they are disabled.
“Pero para sa ako, dapat naay kay guts gyud. Di ka maulaw moatubang ug tawo. Di ka mahadlok (For me, you should have guts. Should not be ashamed to face people. Shout not be afraid),” he said.
Matas, who was born with a deformed leg, said he would never have found a job in City Hall since nine years had he allowed his fears and disabilities to consume him.
“Bisan man ug ing-ani ko, pero nangapply gyud gihapon ko. Kailangan lang gyud nimo ipakita nga sincero ka motrabaho (Despite my state, I still applied for the job. You just have to show that you’re sincere in your work),” he added.
Matas, who is a graduate of a two-year Information Technology course at the Divine Mercy College, started working in City Hall in 2005 as an abstractor or encoder at the City Accounting Office. In 2011, he was detailed at the City Administrator’s Office as photocopy machine operator.
For his part, Ardimer works for City Hall for over 10 years already. He was first assigned at the Building Maintenance Section as a painter of tarpaulins and was later assigned to operate the elevator of the executive building.
A graduate of commercial arts at the Area Vocational Rehab Center in Barangay Labangon, Ardimer said one should believe in himself that they can find employment despite being a PWD. There are still things you can do despite your disabilities, he said.
Ardimer was born with deformed legs and arms.
“Dili babag ang imong pagka-PWD para ma-productive ka (Being a PWD is not a hindrance to being productive),” he told Sun.Star Cebu.
Before their work at City Hall, both Matas and Ardimer had a short stint at Goodwill in Mandaue City, a company that employs PWD’s.
Republic Act (RA) 7277 or the Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons was enacted 22 years ago to provide rights and privileges for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and encourage the public to respect them.
RA 7277, which was passed under former President Corazon Aquino, declares that the differently-abled are part of society.
Section 2(b) states PWDs have the “same rights as other people to take their proper place in society. They should be able to live freely and as independently as possible. This must be the concern of everyone-the family, community and all government and non-government organizations. Disabled person’s rights must never be perceived as welfare services by the Government.”
PWDs are defined by the law as those “suffering from restriction of different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”
The law also guarantees rights and privileges for the differently-abled and these include equal employment opportunities, education, health services and other government services.
PWDs are also ensured to exercise their rights to vote, assemble and organize groups that promote their welfare.
Special Education for Disabled (SPED) course was included in the curriculum in state universities and colleges because of the law.
RA 7277 also put in place the national health program, requiring the health department to initiate programs that will prevent “disability, whether occurring prenatally or post-natally; recognition and early diagnosis of disability and early rehabilitation” of the differently-abled.
Government “shall ensure the attainment of a barrier-free environment that will enable” the differently-abled to have access in public and private establishments as what stated in the Batas Pambansa (BP) 344 (Accessibility Law), which was implemented in 1983.
BP 344 requires “educational institutions, airports, sports and recreation centers and complexes, shopping centers or establishments, public parking places, work-places, and public utilities” to install sidewalks, ramps, railings and the like to enhance the mobility of PWDs.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) is ordered by the law to develop a program to assist marginalized PWDs gain access to public transport facilities.
It also urges television stations to provide a “sign language inset or subtitles in at least one newscast program a day and special program covering events of national significance.”
The telecommunication companies are also encouraged to “install special telephone devices or units for the hearing-impaired and ensure that they are commercially available to enable them to communicate through the telephone system.”
PWDs are free of postal charges when they send books, periodicals, orthopedic and other devices and teaching aids within the Philippines an abroad.
Sending of aids and orthopedic devices for the differently-abled abroad by mail for repair is also free of charge, provided the items are for personal use only and the person with disability is certified as “marginalized” by the social welfare office of a local government unit, the law says.
A person who violates the law can be charged and may be meted with fine or jail term.
A statistician at the Regional Trial Court-Office of the Clerk of Court (RTC-OCC) said there were no persons charged in court for violating RA 7277 from 2002 until last June.
In 2012, Deputy Ombudsman for the Visayas Pelagio Apostol found late Bacolod City Council Secretary Nilo Alejandrino guilty of violating RA 7277 when the latter allegedly uttering in public against the visual disability of Councilor Caesar Distrito.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 14, 2014.