The persons with disabilities (PWDs) are among the vulnerable sectors whose concerns are among the priorities of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Under the Tulong Alalay sa Taong may Kapansanan or TULAY, the sector’s needs were catered through livelihood assistance, employment facilitation and skills development. These interventions highlighted the government’s commitment as well as the sector’s abilities to contribute to national development.

Over the years, various interventions were provided to the sector under the program such as self-employment under the DOLE Kabuhayan Assistance, job fairs for wage employment, as well as representation to other inter-agency initiatives.

To further reflect the office’s commitment to the sector, the DOLE-National Capital Region (NCR) participated in the Regional Strategic Planning Workshop spearheaded by the National Council for Disability Affairs that were also participated by the regional counterparts of the National Government Agencies. DOLE-NCR was represented by Senior Labor and Employment Officer Ryan Roberto E. Delos Reyes of the Employment Promotion and Workers Welfare Division.

During the break-out session, Delos Reyes stressed the importance of the sector’s access to infrastructure and transportation so as to holistically promote their privileges as mandated by law including the importance of disseminating relevant information as regard the rights of the PWDs. Time and again, he further said that it pains him to see the access ramps for the physically challenged as well as their allocated slots in the parking areas being used by abled persons due to the ignorance of some attendants in several establishments. In line with that, the DOLE-NCR representative called for an intensified information drive particularly for the frontline personnel so as to promote the rights and welfare of the PWDs.

Delos Reyes likewise shared the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) experience for institutionalization of their offices in the local government and mentioned that the 17 PESOs of the National Capital Region were institutionalized through its respective Ordinances enacted by the cities’/municipality’s Sanggunian or Councils.

Also, Delos Reyes mentioned the importance of knowing the assistance being provided by the government such as the Employees Compensation Commission’s assistive devices for the Occupationally Disabled Workers as well as other interventions being provided by local government units to the sector. He also encouraged coordination with other government agencies to ascertain an established link for the provision of interventions intended to address the sector’s concerns.

Other agencies gave their inputs as regard challenges and opportunities for the sector, which included prioritization of funds intended for PWD projects and programs; establishment of PDAO based on Civil Service standards and qualifications; and strict implementation of the PWD laws so as to ensure the protection of the sector and the advancement of their rights and welfare.

END / Ryan Roberto Delos Reyes