House panel OKs mandatory employment of more PWDs in gov’t, private firms

Published March 19, 2021, 6:57 PM

by Ben Rosario

The House Committee on Persons with Disabilities (PWD)has approved in principle bills proposing to increase the number of PWDs mandated to be employed in government agencies and private firms.

In a virtual committee hearing on Thursday, March 18  the House panel chaired by Negros Occidental Rep. Marilou Arroyo noted that there has been strong support for the approval of bills seeking to amend Republic Act 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

Zambales Rep. Micaela Violago, author of HB 1240, said RA 7277 provides that PWDs should occupy five percent of all casual, emergency and contractual positions in the Departments of Social Welfare and Development; Health, Education, and other government agencies engaged in social development.

In her bill, Violago called for the same PWD employment quota in the private sector, saying this would contribute in making sure that disabled will be productive members of the society.

For his part, Pangasinan Rep. Tyrone D. Agabas said RA 7277 should be amended to expand employment opportunities to PWDs.

“Most importantly, to proide a better and wider understanding of persons suffering from restrictions, physical or mental, they are not described as disabled persons but best referred to as PWDs in this bill,” he said, referring to HB  4007 which he filed.

HB 4007 proposes to include all government agencies and offices in the mandatory hiring of PWD’s which, under RA 7277, is five percent of the total workforce.

Director Karen Trayvilla of the Department of Labor and Employment informed the House panel that the department fully support the proposed measures.

Recent statistics indicated that  there are only about .46 percent of the total workforce of government agencies that are PWDs. In the same hearing, Arroyo called for the installation of assistive devices for PWDs in public transport and other public areas.