House panel okays bills aiding persons with disabilities

Published January 21, 2021, 10:25 PM

by Ben Rosario

The House Special Committee on Persons with Disabilities approved Thursday bills proposing to further ensure accessibility of persons with disabilities, including one that requires public utility vehicles to be “PWD-friendly” and safe.


Chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Ma. Lourdes Arroyo, the House panel also unanimously agreed to consolidate the bills that will make life more convenient to PWDs estimated to comprise at least 1.6 percent of the country’s population.

Arroyo said changes to pro-PWD laws require review and immediate amendments to address the various challenges faced by PWDs in connection with public transportation, accessibility and their overall mobility.

Among those approved is House Bill 2224 or the “PWD-friendly and Safe Transportation Act.”

Authored by Arroyo, the bill mandates that all PUVs be provided with passenger boarding ramps or lifts, spaces for wheelchair and other safety accessories. 

The installation of seat, belts, clamps and grab bars is also mandatory.

Arroyo noted that instead of making riding in public utility vehicles convenient through the designation of pick-up points for PWDs, government has dismantled waiting sheds and rejected the construction of new ones.

“Let me say that the transport system is the key for us to work, to study, to socialize and to see our needs as members of society. Without a transport system that is friendly and safe for PWDs, then all the PWDs are left behind,” Arroyo stated.

Also granted committee approval were bills filed by Reps. Alfred Vargas (PDP-Laban, Quezon City) and Lorna Silverio (PDP-Laban, Bulacan). 

They sought the provisions of exclusive parking space for vehicles of PWDs and the imposition of penalties for violation of this regulation. 

Ilocos Norte Rep. Ria Christina Farinas proposed the promotion of PWD mobility by mandating the availability and  installation of accessibility facilities and services for the those with disability.

The House panel also approved for consolidation the mandatory provision of specially designated service lane or offices situated at the ground floor of government and private buildings to make official transactions more convenient and safe for PWDs.  Deputy Speaker and Sagip Partylist Rep. Rodante Marcoleta and Rep. Precious Hipolito Castelo (NUP, Quezon City) authored this measure.