The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), as the country’s focal point on disability, takes the lead in campaigning for Disability Inclusive Development through implementation of policies and programs in all levels of governance to ensure active participation of Flipinos with disabilities in achieving Inclusive Growth, as the main thrust of the Aquino Administration.

As one of the 62 countries that adopted the 3rd Asian and the Pacific Decade to Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities (2013-2022), NCDA in close collaboration with government agencies and instrumentalities, local government units (LGUs), civil society organizations, organizations of/ for persons with disabilities, adopted the Incheon Strategy on Disability Inclusive Development as a framework in the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. NCDA’s advocacy on issues identified as priority by the stakeholders was strengthened by consultations from the national to the regional level and resulted into major policies relevant to the needs of persons with disabilities in terms of political, economic and social participation.

Along policy formulation, the NCDA successfully worked with the Office of the President for the issuance of Proclamation No. 688 “Declaring the Period of 2013-2022 as the Philippine Decade of “Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities”.

The said proclamation, signed on November 22, 2013, directs NCDA to formulate and issue a comprehensive National Plan of Action for the Decade and instructs all government agencies, instrumentalities, local government units, civil society organizations and disabled people’s organizations, to implement plans, programs, and activities that are geared towards the development of persons with disabilities in accordance with the Incheon Strategy. It also states that the funds necessary for its implementation shall be sourced from the appropriations of concerned government agencies.

As a result of the initiatives of convening NCDA Inter-Agency sub-committees composed of national government agencies, Disabled People’s Organizations and NGOs, concerned government agencies formulated and issued memorandum circulars, administrative orders and other policies supporting the implementation of disability-relevant laws and programs, such as follows:

Government Agency Policy Details Date of Issuances
Department of Labor and Employment Memorandum from the Secretary – “Institutionalization of Priority Lanes for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities in the Department” November 19, 2013
Department of the Interior and Local Government Memorandum from the Secretary – “Institutionalization of Priority Lanes for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities in the Department” November 6, 2013
Department of Tourism Memorandum from the Secretary – institutionalization of Priority Lanes and Services to all Foreign and Filipino Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities November 4, 2013
Department of Environment and Natural Resources Memorandum from the Secretary – “Institutionalization of Priority Lanes for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities in the Department” September 17, 2013
Department of Foreign Affairs Reactivation of Department Order No. 223-11 – “Creation of a DFA Working Group for Policies and Programs for the Disabled” in consultation with NCDA December 22, 2011
Department of Justice Opening of PWD Assistance Desk in Justice Halls- piloted in Quezon City Hall July 17, 2013
Department Public Works and Highways Memo Circular instructing all District Engineers to coordinate with NCDA in organizing the District Accessibility Monitoring Team within their jurisdiction 2013

The NCDA also lobbied for its approval and contributed in the formulation of the following laws and its implementing rules and regulations which were enacted in 2013:

  • Republic Act No. 10524 – Employment of persons with disabilities in government agencies, offices or corporations, and to private companies;
  • Republic Act No. 10372 – Intellectual Property Code of the Philippines which allows reproduction of copyright materials into accessible formats to be used for learning activities of people with disabilities; and
  • Republic Act No. 10366 – Establishment of Accessible Polling Places for Persons with Disabilities by the Commission on Election.

In July 2013 during the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, the NCDA together with the Commission on Election has launched disability-inclusive election which highlights the passage of R. A. No. 10366 and encouraging persons with disabilities to re-register to ensure provision of assistance during election day.

The NCDA also engaged with the Council for the Welfare of Children for the adoption of the “Child Protection Policy” and on its Multi-Sectoral Consultation Workshop on Missing Children which incorporated the concerns of children with disabilities.

In consultation with the Department of Justice, Department of Budget and Management, Civil Service Commission, Department of the Interior and Local Government and DPOs the implementing rules and regulations/joint circular relative to Republic Act No. 10070 or the establishment of Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office (PDAO) in LGUs was drafted for presentation to concerned stakeholders.

With its international network and linkages, the NCDA has developed a road map for the country’s implementation of the Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for persons with disabilities through its participation in the following:

  • ASEAN Workshop on CRPD: An Inclusive and Accessible Society for All –
    Employability and Employment;
  • UN-High Level Meeting on Disability and Development;
  • Regional Workshop on Disability-Inclusive Agribusiness Development;
  • 69th Session of the UN ESCAP
  • Global Action Planning;
  • Second APCD/JAIF Project Regional Meeting and ASEAN Meeting on
    Promoting the UNCRPD towards Enhancing the roles and Participation of
    Persons with Disabilities in the ASEAN Community; and
  • 2013 Global IT (Information Technology) Challenge.

Along the strategic goal of increasing the number of LGUs compliant to disability-related policies, laws, programs, and services, the NCDA conducted consultations on building an inclusive and non-handicapping environment for persons with disabilities in 17 regions of the country. These have resulted to organization of 85 District/Provincial/City/Municipal Access Monitoring Teams whose main task is to promote the implementation of B.P. 344 through inventory of accessible and inaccessible establishments and to conduct access audit with participation of persons with disabilities.

The NCDA also capacitated 78 LGUs in 17 regions of the country through provision of current information on disability and conduct of trainings/seminar/workshops with 22 LGUs on NHE and Disability Equality Training (DET); and three (3) LGUs/government agencies on Web Accessibility.

Along the strategic goal of increasing the number of disability-related structures at the local level, the NCDA organized and monitored 219 disability-related structures comprising of 96 PDAOs, 77 Access Monitoring Teams, 44 Sub-Committees, and two (2) local committees.

In addition, the NCDA through the funding assistance of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) provided the following support services for persons with disabilities:

  • Sixty six wheelchairs from Latter Day Saints Charities and 26 customized and standard wheelchairs;
  • Two hundred forty white canes, wherein 200 of those where given to blind students enrolled in 60 SPED centers/schools in different regions;
  • Four (4) walkers, 12 pairs of crutches, four (4) hearing aids; and
  • Twelve laptops and seven (7) tablets to college students with disabilities

awarding ceremony

The other support services which the Council provided in 2013 include:

  • Sign language interpreters during court hearings and other programs and activities;
  • Newborn Screening card/kits to 200 mothers (which is aimed at advocating the importance of early detection and intervention of disabilities);
  • Training and knowledge-transfer on “Appropriate Paper-Based Technology Upgrade and Business Planning” to 30 entrepreneurs with disabilities of Carmona Federation of Persons with Disabilities; and
  • Training on Business Management and Project Proposal Writing for Social Enterprise Development Partners for 29 DPO leaders from 13 regions of the country.

Along the area of consultation with persons with disabilities/civil society organizations/ national government agencies/ local government units, the NCDA conducted a “Write Shop on the “National Disability Strategy” and “Decade Plan of Action” and participated in two (2) “Public Sector Linkages Program in Developing a Results-Based Monitoring and Evaluation Framework on Disability in the Philippines” in sync with the Incheon Strategy.

The NCDA also co-sponsored the “National Forum on 10 Goals to Make the Right Real” with AKAP-Pinoy (Alliance of Persons with Disabilities).

These consultations provided a venue for persons with disabilities to articulate their concerns with various groups of duty-bearers and stakeholders.

Along the Secretary’s directive “to make the government and public know the sector’s situation and make them act on these, the NCDA mobilized different GOs/NGOs/DPOs and other stakeholders through the NCDA’s different sub-committees which served as a venue to discuss and recommend policy and program recommendations to the Council’s governing board and secretariat for adoption and/or implementation.

The NCDA also conducted and supported a number of advocacy and awareness campaigns on disability concerns and to generate commitment and support for the empowerment of persons with disabilities as members of an inclusive community. The NCDA led the commemoration of 11 disability-relevant events and observances. Foremost of these include the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in December; 35th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week in July; and Women with Disabilities Day in March.

Sec. Corazon Juliano Soliman supported the celebration of the 35th NDPR Week which was chaired by DOJ Sec. Leila de Lima.

The NCDA established disability sections in six (6) schools, wherein four (4) are in Luzon and two (2) in Visayas. These disability sections serve as a channel to provide relevant information to the academic community. It also mounted nine (9) various exhibits including its participation to “KABISIG” program which gathers government agencies for the promotion of their programs and services. It also partnered with the Presidential Communications Operations Office for a series of photo exhibits on the Incheon Strategy to Make the Right Real for Persons with Disabilities.

Secretary De Lima with AED Zubiaga

The other programs which the NCDA conducted and supported, in line with the said Secretary’s directive include:

  • Forum on Training and Employment for Persons with Disabilities in partnership
    with DOLE
  • Persons with Disabilities’ Product Conference in partnership with Leonard
    Cheshire Disability Foundation Philippines
  • Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Jobs and Skills Fair for
    Persons with Disabilities in partnership with ICTO
  • Ms. Beauty on Wheels, Signs and Visions- in cooperation with WOWLEAP-which
    provided personality, leadership and advocacy training for 27 young women
    with disabilities;
  • Orientation Seminar on Disability Sensitivity and Emergency Responses for
    Persons with Disabilities conducted in cooperation with MMDA and local
    government of Hilongos Leyte;
  • Training of Day Care Workers on Inclusive Education-SPED conducted in Iloilo
    and Mandaluyong City;
  • Conference on Increasing Sensitivity Level of Parents and Caregivers of Children
    with Disabilities;
  • Pre-ASEAN Conference on Auxiliary Social Services for Persons with Disabilities
    and Work at Home Entrepreneurship for Persons with Disabilities in
    partnership with DSWD Social Technology Bureau;
  • Pre-Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Congress in partnership with World
    Health Organization
  • Regional Committee on Disability Affairs- National Capital Region-wide Skills
    Competition for Persons with Disabilities
  • “Access 2020 Race to Success”- an advocacy for accessibility with Tahanang
    Walang Hagdanan
  • AFS-KL Yes Program for Students with Disabilities which resulted to selection of
    three (3) scholars with disabilities in Exchange Program to US
  • National Forum on Incheon Strategy’s Ten Goals- in partnership with AKAP
  • Disability Sensitivity Training and Forums for frontliners in customer services and
    tourism industries in partnership with SM Supermalls nationwide, Department
    of Tourism, Greenhills Shopping Center and Ayala Malls.

The NCDA also actively addressed the concerns of persons with disabilities in times of disasters through its membership in an Inter-agency Committee on Disaster Risk Reduction Management and participation in the observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction. It also developed a Manual on Disability Inclusive Plan on Disaster Preparedness.

“NOTHING ABOUT US, WITHOUT US” is the battle cry of persons with disabilities. With this, NCDA affirms its strong commitment to represent persons with disabilities and assert their dreams for an inclusive and rights based society.