DID you know that all government agencies, offices or corporations are mandated by law to reserve at least 1 percent of all positions for persons with disabilities PWDs?

According to Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, even private corporations with more than 100 employees are encouraged to reserve at least 1 percent of all positions for PWDs. However, in order to avail of these privileges and entitlement, a PWD must secure and present a PWD ID.

Persons with disability are among the most vulnerable groups in the country that need utmost attention from the government however reports note that the quality of employment of PWDs still needs a lot of improvement.

Also, EO 417 which directs the Implementation of the Economic Independence for PWDs mandates that all national government agencies including government owned and controlled corporations are enjoined to support and cooperate in the implementation of the Economic Independence Program for PWDs. The Department of Social Welfare and Development shall likewise develop and implement the national social preparation program that will deal on moral values and work ethics of entrepreneurs with disabilities.

The Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and Technology Education Skills Development Authority shall continually develop a system of equivalency to ensure PWDs’ access to employment and entrepreneurship. The Cooperative Development Authority shall also develop and implement programs to promote cooperative organizing and development among PWDs.

The Department of Trade and Industry has a program called Mentor Me and it is a regular coaching of business owners and practitioners on different areas of entrepreneurship. This is to assist Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) meant to develop good business sense by capacitating them through the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Since said Mentor ME program aims to help micro and small entrepreneurs scale up their enterprises, spur economic activity and generate employment opportunities, it is also aims to mainstream OTOPreneurs who are ready for business expansion.

We often see some of Baguio’s PWDs and elders doing entrepreneurial activities and we know for a fact that they too are capable of doing skilled work. They can actually organize or form a group and request for stills trainings from the above mentioned agencies including DTI.

DTI’s Mentor Me program for example features modules that subject the mentees to various business concepts in order to develop the acumen needed in scaling up and sustaining an enterprise.

A module entitled Entrepreneur, which discusses the mindset and values of a successful entrepreneur. The Enterprise, a seven-topic module covering the basic functional areas of an enterprise such as Product development, Marketing, Operations management, Accounting, Taxation, Finance and Obligations and contracts shall be undertaken. A four-topic module “Sustaining the Enterprise” which focuses on sustainability amidst growth namely; HR management, Supply and value chain, Succession planning and Business plan development are also offered.

For PWDs in the creative sector or those who are into handicrafts, souvenir items and visual arts, they can also form a group or cooperative among themselves and tap civic organizations and even the media to promote their crafts and talents. Before, there was a group of blind musicians that can be tapped for functions. The Pasakalye group of artists based at the Bookends Book Shop along T. Claudio Street started to help a physically handicapped artist and they are now collaborating with media, galleries and hotels for the showcasing their works. I look forward to a time when I see the works of Alan, our PWD friends will soon be hanging in one of the hotel lobbies of Baguio.