EIGHTY percent of government-owned buildings violated the accessibility law, Bong Comiling of the PWD Affairs Section said during the iSpeak Forum held at the Davao City Hall conference room on Thursday.

According to the law, no permit or license for construction shall be given unless it complies with the requirement of the accessibility law as stipulated in Section 1 of Batas Pambansa Bilang 344.

This is to "promote the realization of the rights of disabled persons to participate fully in the social life and the development of the societies in which they live" and to make them experience the enjoyment of the opportunities also available to others according to section 1 of the accessibility law.

The law requires that both private and public buildings and other structural features "shall install and incorporate in such building, establishment, institution or public utility such architectural facilities or structural features" that will enhance the mobility of the PWDs.

But Comiling said the law remains a big issue although he added that some hotels and supermarkets are already compliant with the law. But most sidewalks are still not accessible to them.

He cited Ramon Magsaysay Avenue where ramps were built on the street but it did not conform according to the standard of the law. Thus, those who are using wheelchairs that cross the ramps will slide back.

He also stressed the need of PWDs to have a center that will cater to them.

He said people with hearing disabilities "kay galisod og pangita og trabaho kay walay accessibility (people with hearing disabilities has difficulties in finding a job due to lack of accessibility)," adding that in many offices, no one knows how to use sign language to entertain or communicate to them.

There is still a wide language and sign language barrier in the persons with hearing disabilities, said Comiling, adding that there are also no roads for the blind and only few schools for special children.

According to www.ncda.gov.ph website, the accessibility law was approved in February 25, 1983 under the Administration of the late President Ferdinand Marcos. (Rhealyn C. Pojas/Sun.Star Davao)