The Accessibility Ally in the First Ever Quezon City PWD Summit

Today, July 13, 2011, the Quezon City local government and the various sectors of persons with disability (PWD) made history by conducting the first ever Quezon City PWD Summit. The main goal of this event is to carry out a consultation with all disability sectors in order to formulate a law that would uphold the human rights of persons with disabilities in the city.

The main theme of the PWD Summit is “making rights real for Filipinos with disabilities”. This event was organized by the local government of Quezon City and was supported by the Department of Health, the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), and the Social Services Development Department. The Occupational Safety and Health Center in Quezon City was the venue of the summit.

Julius in the Quezon City PWD Summit

I was fortunate enough to attend this momentous event. I was joined by Mr. Tony Llanes, founder and executive director of ATRIEV Computer School for the Blind. Other participants included representatives from the blind, deaf, orthopedically impaired, learning disability, and multi-disability sectors.

Generally, the PWD summit was an interesting event. It started with talks from the city’s Vice Mayor and Mayor respectively. Then the regional director of the Department of Health gave a discussion about the different categories of disabilities. The next speakers talked about the local government’s current efforts to uphold the rights of PWDs.

I particularly liked the second half of the summit. We were divided into groups and had a set of questions about the services and facilities we enjoy and those we would like to have as persons with disabilities. The purpose of this activity was to acquire the ideas, concerns, and needs of PWDs in order to form the basis of the new law the local government would create.

Being a blind guy myself, I joined the visually impaired group of participants. While with the group, I focused my ideas on accessibility of online information and Information-Communications Technology (ICT). I strongly believe that in addition to the accessibility of buildings and public facilities, making ICT accessible to persons with disabilities is very important in ensuring that the rights of PWDs are upheld by the government. Furthermore, accessible online information ensures that PWDs have a greater chance of participating in the city’s governance.

Julius in the focus group discussion

The other members of the group also provided compelling points about the needs of PWDs in employment, education, and social services. At the end of the activity, a representative from each disability sector gave the ideas gathered from the groups. Our group’s representative included in our report the ideas about accessible online information and its importance to PWDs.

The summit ended with talks from two of the city’s councilors and a closing remark from NCDA’s officer in chief. I can say that it was a very good event, and I as a person with disability have learned a lot from the speakers and from my fellow participants. I sincerely thank the local government of Quezon City for hosting this PWD summit.

To the Quezon City government and the other groups who worked hard for this event, I am very gladly offering my assistance should you plan to start working on making your online information and services accessible to persons with disabilities in your city and the entire country as well. I am also giving my full support in your efforts to create a law to uphold the rights of PWDs in your beautiful City.

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