Senate ratifies bicam report on bill instituting accessible education for learners with disabilities

Published December 8, 2021, 8:52 AM

by Hannah Torregoza 

The Senate has ratified the bicameral conference committee report on the measure that seeks to ensure learners with disabilities will have access to education and other related services.

The bicam report on Senate Bill No. 1907, and House Bill No. 8080 titled “Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act” was approved by the Senate on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Gatchalian, chair of the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture, said the immediate passage of the measure into law would be the best gift the government can provide to students this year.

“Ito ang pinakamagandang regalo natin sa mga mag-aaral na may kapansanan at kanilang mga pamilya (This is the best gift we can give to our students who have disabilities and their family),” Gatchalian said.

“Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang batas na ito, matitiyak nating hindi na mapagkakaitan ng edukasyon at mahahalagang mga serbisyo ang ating mga kabataan at mag-aaral na may kapansanan (Through this proposed law, we can be sure that our Filipino students who have disabilities would have access to education and basic services for their welfare),” said Gatchalian, co-author and sponsor of the measure.

The bill seeks the creation of a national network of Inclusive Learning Resource Centers of Learners with Disabilities (ILRC), which would serve as a one-stop shop for the delivery of free support services to them.

The measure also seeks to ensure that all schools, whether public or private, will provide equitable access to quality education to every learner with disability, and make sure no learner would be denied admission on the basis of his/her disability.

The bill also mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), in cooperation with local government units (LGUs), to establish and maintain at least one ILRC in all cities and municipalities.

These ILRCs may also be established in every schools district based on the requirements of cities and municipalities and the availability of resources.

Each ILRC would have a multi-disciplinary team, composed of expers such as educational psychologists, guidance counselors, developmental pediatricians, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, special needs teachers and other allied medical professionals.

“This landmark legislation would deliver quality, accessible and inclusive education for learners with disabilities in our country, especially for those who were left behind by our basic education system,” Gatchalian said during the hybrid plenary session.