ILOILO – As part of his commitment to improve their welfare, Governor Arthur Defensor Sr. has named the first person who will further the cause of persons with disability (PWD) in this province.
Starting this year, 60-year-old Mario Abaygar, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering in Western Institute of Technology, will be the focal person who will oversee all the programs for PWDs here.
The creation of Persons with Disability Affairs Officer under the tutelage of the Department of Social Welfare and Development is pursuant to Republic Act No. 100701 or an act establishing an institutional mechanism to ensure the implementation of programs and services for PWDs in every province, city and municipality.
“The governor appointed Mario for this purpose and he expects that beginning this year, the programs for PWDs in the province will be strengthened and institutionalized even up to the municipal level,” said Provincial Administrator Raul Banias.
Among the functions of PDAO include the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs.
On his first year, Abaygar is planning to conduct a PWD survey to gather relevant data that can help him assess their situation.
As of December 2014, there is an estimated 17, 175 PWDs in 43 local government units in Iloilo based on the records of PSWDO. But many are still unaccounted.
“I would like to empower the PWDs by informing them first of their rights, enjoin the chief executives to support us and ensure that all programs are implemented well,” Abaygar said.
Under the amended Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the rights of PWDs are almost similar to that of the senior citizens.
In Iloilo, however, PWDs are entitled more than what the national government offers.
For example, in case of healthcare, all PWDs are entitled to 50 percent discount on all charges in all hospitals and medical facilities owned and operated by the province, while indigents are free of charge.
They are also entitled to 50 percent discount on all fees or rent for the use of structures and other similar facilities owned by the province.
In terms of employment, PWDs who have the capacity and desire to work or be re-employed are provided with information and matching services to enable them to be productive members of the society.
The province will also offer a full scholarship grant to five qualified PWDs who will pursue a degree in college in any government-owned universities in Iloilo come March 2015.
Abaygar said he is thankful that the chief executives in the province are sensitive to the rights and interests of PWDs and other vulnerable sectors of the society. #2015News