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BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance allocating some P2 million or so much thereof for the construction and installation of an elevator within city hall for the benefit and use of the persons with disabilities (PWDs), elderly and pregnant women among others while transacting with the different offices of the local government.
The ordinance authored by Vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog stated that the city’s local finance committee shall issue the required certification of availability of funds while the City Buildings and Architecture Office (CBAO) shall prepare the necessary documents such as programs of work, cost estimates and specifications and technical drawings among others for the said purpose.
The ordinance will take effect pursuant to the pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7160 or the Local Government code of the Philippines.
Section 25 of RA 7277 or An Act providing for the Rehabilitation, Self-development and Self-Reliance of Disabled Persons in their Integration into Mainstream Society and for other Purposes provides that the State shall ensure the attainment of a barrier-free environment that will enable disabled persons to have access in public and private buildings and establishments and such other places mentioned in Batas Pambansa Bilang 344, otherwise known as the Accessibility Law.
Further, the ordinance stipulated that the national and local governments shall allocate funds for the provision of architectural or structural features for disabled persons in government buildings and facilities.
In 2003, the local legislative body approved Ordinance No. 17, series of 2003 entitled “Appropriating the amount of P44,720,000 from the Unappropriated Surplus of the General Fund to Cover expenses for the Priority Projects of the City of Baguio” wherein an amount of P1.7 million was then allocated for the construction of an elevator within city hall to cater to the needs of PWDs, elderly and pregnant women among others while transacting with the different offices of the local government.
However, the planned put up of an elevator in the city hall building did not push through because of other priorities of the local government when the previous administrations took over.
While ramps have already been installed near the city hall one-stop shop, Bilog claimed the PWDs and elderly have expressed their difficulty when using such ramps because of its length and elevation, thus, the need for the local government to consider other better alternatives to provide easy access of the concerned sectors to the different offices of the local government.
He argued that by providing and installing an elevator will provide the concerned sectors with ease of transacting with the different offices of city hall considering that they can simply use the said elevator to go to their desired offices within a short span of time without having the difficulty of having to pass through the ramps that were earlier installed for such purpose.
The ordinance was referred to the appropriate committee of the local legislative body for study and recommendation on whether the same will pass the required second and third readings.
By Dexter A. See