BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved a resolution encouraging all government offices, agencies or instrumentalities and private individuals and groups with buildings located in the different parts of the city to strictly comply with the pertinent provisions of Batas Pambansa (BP) 344 otherwise known as the Accessibility Law to help enhance the mobility of persons with disabilities by requiring certain structures to install facilities and other devices necessary for the purpose.
The resolution authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated that it is important for the local government to start the compliance of its existing structures to the Accessibility Law, thus, concerned offices have been given a 2-year period to ensure that all city-owned buildings are compliant to the accessibility provisions enshrined in existing laws, rules and regulations.
Further, the resolution noted that the Philippines is a State party to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2008, thus, all government and private buildings must strictly comply with the provisions of the Accessibility Law which is geared towards improving the mobility of persons with disabilities around structures when transacting business.
In the city, Yangot claimed there are alarming reports that some government and private offices located in buildings are not yet compliant with BP 344 making it burdensome for persons with disabilities and even with senior citizens to transact business thereby automatically depriving them of essential services and ultimately participating fully in social life and the development of the societies in which they live in.
BP 344 or the Accessibility Law was enacted in 1983 to promote the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities to participate fully in the social life and the development of the societies in which they live in for the full enjoyment of the opportunities available to other citizens.
Moreover, the law expressly provides that no license or permit for the construction, repair or renovation of public and private buildings for public use, educational institutions, airports, sports and recreation centers and complexes, shopping centers or establishments, public parking places, workplaces, public utilities, shall be granted or issued unless the owner or operator shall install and incorporate in such building, establishment, institution or public utility, such architectural facilities or structural features or shall reasonably enhance the mobility of disabled persons such as sidewalks, ramps, railings and the like.
Representatives of the Department of Public Works and Highways–Baguio City District Engineering Office (DPWH-BCDEO) and the City Buildings and Architecture Office reported that the concerned government agencies and local government offices are now ensuring new constructions or repairs or renovations of buildings include appropriate provisions for ramps, railings or elevators and escalators and that the same shall be installed to ensure their compliance to the Accessibility Law.
The resolution will be transmitted to the concerned government agencies and owners of public and private buildings for their information and further needed action in compliance to existing laws, rules and regulations. By Dexter A. See