SAN FERNANDO CITY, July 31 (PIA) – Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) and advocates of the PWD community from Luzon gathered recently for a joint conference to plan on how to bring services down to the grassroots.
The two-day activity recently conducted at the Waterfront Manila Pavilion was attended by members of the Regional Council on Disability Affairs (RCDA) from Regions 1, 2, 3, CAR, CALABARZON, and MIMAROPA. Some attendees were PWD leaders in their respective regions.
Carmen Zubiaga, executive director of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), said the gathering was aimed to provide directions for all RCDAs on convergence.
“We have to find ways, through convergence, on how we can bring services down the grassroots and how to complement each other’s mandates to become a strong force to empower PWDs and other vulnerable groups,” Zubiaga told the Philippine Information Agency.
When asked about the top priority on disability, Zubiaga said there is a need to explore more ways on how to empower PWDs “so that they can fully participate in decision making processes at the local level.”
She added, however, that accessibility and economic activities of PWDs must also be enhanced for them to become more participative.
“We must promote their independence in their mobility so that they become and socially active in their respective communities,” Zubiaga added.
In order to better implement international and national laws on disability, a database of PWDs from the national down to the local level must be established.
Mateo Lee, Jr, NCDA deputy executive director, said a system developed by the NCDA will be rolled out to the regions which the RCDAs would use to input data of PWDs within their area.
“These data will be automatically reported to NCDA for consolidation and analysis which, in turn, would be useful in decision making and planning,” Lee said.
During the joint conference, issues and good practices of the regional councils were presented. Plans and recommendations to continuously advocate the PWD sector were likewise laid.
Meanwhile, a joint conference to be attended by members of the Visayas and Mindanao clusters is set in August. (JNPD/PIA-1)