Department of Labor and Employment
20 July 2019
Govt assures employment, livelihood opportunities for PWDs
Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has renewed government assurance in protecting the rights and promoting the economic empowerment of persons with disability.
Bello made the commitment at the start of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week at the Employers Forum on Disability Inclusive Employment held in Manila on Friday.
“Given the government’s commitment under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability and the department’s agenda on achieving inclusive growth and decent work for all, we shall continue to bring hope to all PWDs by providing them employment and livelihood opportunities,” Bello said.
The forum, conducted by the Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) and in partnership with Project Inclusion, aims to promote awareness of the rights of PWDs, particularly the right to equal access to employment opportunities, and encourage more private establishments to open doors of opportunity to PWDs.
Under Republic Act No. 10524, at least 1 percent of all positions to all government agencies, offices, or corporations shall be reserved for PWDs. On the other hand, private corporations with more than 100 employees are encouraged to reserve at least 1 percent of all positions for PWDs.
“I am very happy that private companies heed the call of including PWDs in their workforce. I hope that more employers will do the same,” Bello said, adding that there are currently about 270 companies with published job vacancies for PWDs.
The Bureau of Local Employment (BLE) and the Public Employment Service Offices (PESOs) enhance their employment facilitation for PWDs through the job portal PhilJobNet, programs such as the JobStart Philippines Program and the Government Internship Program, and the conduct of job fairs.
Aside from wage employment, the government also capacitates PWDs through livelihood undertakings under the DOLE Integrated Livelihood and Emergency Employment Program (DILEEP).
For the first quarter of 2019 alone, a total of 1,900 PWDs were granted livelihood assistance amounting to P1.51 million. This is aside from the 19,206 PWDs who benefited from DILEEP from 2008 to 2018.
One of the PWD beneficiaries of DILEEP is Joseph Iniragan from Bislig City, Surigao Del Sur.
A therapist who has epilepsy, he experienced discrimination in his previous employment because of his condition. Through the Bislig Massage Therapists Association (BISMASTA), he was given the chance to work normally and use his skills.
In 2013, BISMASTA was granted DILEEP assistance amounting to P161,000 for its massage clinic project.
Also part of the DOLE’s activities for the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week is the conduct of Disability Sensitivity Training for Frontliners and Public Employment Service Office (PESO) Managers by the DOLE Regional Offices.
In collaboration with the Institute for Labor Studies, the labor department will also be conducting a workshop on the drafting of DOLE Disability Inclusive Governance Framework on July 23. The framework will serve as a blueprint on disability inclusion in all DOLE programs and services.
Also part of the DOLE initiatives in the furtherance of PWD rights are the designation of focal persons for PWD concerns in all its regional offices, services, bureaus, and attached agencies; vice chairmanship in the national working committee of this year’s National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week; and the draft revised guidelines on the issuance of certification/accreditation of private entities employing PWDs for the purpose of availing tax incentives under the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.
The labor department will chair the national working committee for the celebration of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week next year.
Bello hopes that partners from the different government agencies, local government units, and non-government organizations will sustain their cooperation and participation for the successful conduct of the week-long activities in 2020.