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City officials requested the Cordillera office of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH-CAR), the DPWH-Baguio City District Engineering Office and the City Engineering Office (CEO) to include cut-out curbs and ramps in their sidewalk renovation to cater to persons with mobility difficulties in the city.
Under Resolution No. 447, series of 2021, signed by Mayor Benjamin B. Magalong, local legislators stated that the renovation of sidewalks should include cut-out curbs and ramps using non-skid floor materials to aid the visually-impaired and persons with disability, particularly those using wheelchairs, for them to freely move around without unnecessarily inconveniencing them.
Pertinent provisions of Republic Act (RA) 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, provides that to facilitate integration of disabled persons into the mainstream of society, the State shall advocate and encourage respect for disabled persons.
Further, the State shall exert all efforts to remove all social, cultural, economic, environmental and attitudinal barriers that are prejudicial to the interest of disabled persons.
Batas Pambansa Bilang 344, otherwise known as the Accessibility Law, and its implementing rules and regulations, provide for the minimum requirements for accessibility in order 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 the enjoyment of the opportunities available to other citizens.
The same shall include such architectural facilities or structural features as shall reasonably enhance the mobility of disabled persons such as sidewalks, ramps, railings, and the like.
In line with the Walkable City program of the local government, some tactile pavements were installed in some sidewalks within the city to make it beneficial to persons with disabilities.
The council noted that while tactile pavements are used in the sidewalks, the concerned government agencies and the local government also need to cater to wheelchair users, as well as to persons with mobile disabilities due to either age or infirmity.
The persons with disabilities expressed their support to the proposed installation of tactile pavements in various sidewalks around the city but the same must be done in direct consultation with the different groups form them to be able to raise their issues and concerns to ensure that the said pavements will be properly installed to prevent the occurrence of untoward incidents that may pose a serious threat to the safety of the public.
The PWDs also recommended to concerned government agencies and the local government to first remove the obstructions along sidewalks and roads before the installation of the said tactile pavements to avoid unnecessary incidents that might affect the safety of pedestrians, especially the visually impaired ones.
The public works department and the local government decided to remove the tactile pavements installed in critical portions of various sidewalks around the city to avoid future accidents that may pose threats to public safety.
By Dexter A. See
Photo by Armando M. Bolislis