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The Baguio Federation of Organizations of Visually-Impaired Persons (BFOVIP) rose in defense of the tactile pavement along the city’s sidewalks citing their seviceability to their sector.
“We are not in favor of removing them. If they are slippery, people especially those with eyesight should adjust. They have to learn how to use it because they can see where they are walking on,” federation president Ever Basatan said.
After days of continuous rains, complaints on the slippery yellow lines mounted prompting calls for remedial measures and even removal of the pavement.
But Basatan said the tactile benefits them and this should also be taken into consideration.
“Nakakatulong ito sa amin. Hindi man 100 percent pero malaki ang naitutulong,” he said.
The Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) said no report of accidents or complaints involving the tactile pavement had so far been received from any PWD.
Mayor Benjamin Magalong said people just need to be educated on the use and purpose of the tactile technology.
“These are guides for our PWDs and they are not really for stepping on. I guess people are just not that aware of their proper use and purpose but once they are, they will be able to adjust,” he said.
City Administrator Bonifacio Dela Peña said the city government and the Dept. of Public Works and Highways and the city government had a good purpose in incorporating the tactile technology in the city’s sidewalk rehabilitation project and that is to raise the city’s standards in providing accessibility, protection and security to PWDs.
“What we are installing are international standard materials. I hope we can all be knowledgeable of this globally accepted technology,” he said.
Tactile pavements are said to contain patterns that indicate different meanings and warnings.
“Distinctive surface patterns detectable by a long cane or underfoot that are used to alert the vision-impaired of approaching streets and hazardous surface or grade changes.”
It is being advocated by the World Blind Union as part of the Universal Design movement and now being used globally.
“Slippery they may be for the non-blind but to the visually impaired, they are lifelines,” the officials said.
Able persons may just need to know that they should avoid stepping on these “slippery” lines, keep to the sides following the “Keep Right” rule.
The city officials said that as PWD-friendly city, Baguio City has the obligation to guarantee the welfare and comfort of the PWDs by virtue of Batas Pambansa 344 or An Act to Enhance the Mobility of Disabled Persons by Requiring Certain Buildings, Institutions, Establishments and Public Utilities to Install Facilities and other Devices. – Aileen P. Refuerzo