SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
A re-elected lawmaker will push for the passage in the 17th Congress of a bill, which will grant indigent persons with disabilities (PWDs) easy access to wheelchairs, walkers and other assistive technology devices.
Rep. Alfredo D. Vargas III (5th District, Quezon City) said he will refile House Bill 6478 to enable/encourage poor PWDs to participate in economic activities, the community affairs, and nation-building.
Assistive technology, as defined in the bill means “technology designed to be utilized in an assistive technology device or assistive technology service.”
On the other hand, assistive technology device refers to “any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of persons with disability.”
Assistive technology devices include mobility devices such as walkers and wheelchairs, as well as hardware, software, and peripherals that assist persons with disability in accessing computers or other information technologies.
Assistive technology service means “any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.”
The measure, which amends Republic Act (RA) No. 7277, as amended, provides for “free assistive technology device that includes technical aids, prosthetic and orthotic devices or appliances particularly for personal use of orthopedically-impaired, hearing-impaired, speech-impaired, visually-impaired, mentally-impaired, and multi-handicapped that will restore their social functioning and participation in economic activities and community affairs.”
The amendment provision further states that the beneficiary of free assistive technology devices is a “marginalized person with disability as defined in RA 7277, as certified by the social welfare and development office of the local government unit (LGU) or the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).”
Vargas said the results of the 2010 Census of Population and Housing showed there are 1,442,586 PWDs in the country, representing 1.53 percent of the Philippine population.
“Out of these, the DSWD has identified 302,421 poor households with a disabled member,” he said.
The bill creates a Congressional Fund for Marginalized Persons with Disability in order to carry out the provisions of this Act.
The initial fund of P300 million shall be constituted and automatically remitted directly to the DSWD from the following sources: P150 million from the proceeds of Lotto of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) and P150 million from the income of the Philippine Amusement Gaming Corporations (PAGCOR).
The fund shall be administered by the DSWD in coordination with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).