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Make tourist destinations PWD-friendly –DSWD

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THE HEAD of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VI based in Iloilo City recently urged those in the tourism industry to make tourist destinations PWD-friendly.


Speaking before hotels and restaurants owners, provincial tourism officers, academe representatives, tour guides and members of the transport sector, DSWD 6 Regional Director Ma. Evelyn Macapobre said that Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) should get what is due to them.


“PWDs deserve to also enjoy nature’s beauty. Things like access ramps or elevators for those who are unable to walk and booklets or reading materials that are in Braille for the visually challenged should be available,” she said.


Macapobre was one of the guests of the Regional Forum on Accessible Tourism hosted by the Department of Tourism 6 (DOT 6) and THE National Council on Disability Affairs held at Iloilo City’s Hotel Del Rio Nov 17.


“It would be interesting to see tourist spot employees who are able to use the sign language for the hearing and speech impaired. Help desks for PWDs, special seats in vehicles, restaurants and other places of interests. The presence of people trained to handle different kinds of PWDs. These are things which can make the lives of PWDs easier and more enjoyable, with less stress on their end,” Macapobre added.


Law Enforcement


Macapobre also called on Local Government Units (LGUs) and private sectorsto work together in the implementation of laws for PWDs, which include Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons; R.A. 9442 which is an amendment of R.A. 7277; and the Batas Pambansa (BP) 344 or the Accessibility Law.


“We should make PWDs feel that they are an important part of the society,” she said. In Region 6, there are 87,519 PWDs recorded as of December 2010. Of this, 42, 990 are males while 44, 529 are females.


Of said number of PWDs, Negros Occidental has 26,618; Iloilo, 22,546; Capiz, 8,658; Antique, 8,007; Bacolod City, 6,482; Iloilo City, 6,334; Aklan, 6,137; and Guimaras, 2,737. (M. Griño-Caoyonan).

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