By Congressman Jerry P. Treñas
The State is mandated by no less than the 1987 Philippine Constitution to prioritize the needs of the disabled. In keeping with the mandate to give priority to persons with disability, the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Region VI Office, in cooperation with the Association of Disabled Persons-Iloilo, Inc., have organized today’s Regional Congress for Persons with Disabilities.
In response to the Constitutional directive to prioritize our disabled citizens, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was passed by Congress in 1992. It outlined the rights afforded to our disabled brethren and strengthened the resolve of the government to provide the necessary care and benefits to disabled individuals. The Magna Carta clearly stated that Disabled persons are part of the country’s society, hence the State is obliged to give full support to the improvement of the total well-being of disabled individuals. Moreover, disabled persons shall be integrated into the mainstream of Philippine society through programs and policies ensuring the rehabilitation, self-development and self-reliance of disabled persons. The Magna Carta for the disabled also states that disabled persons should be able to live freely and as independently as possible. To this end, all sectors of society, including all government and non-government organizations, should work together in order to protect and promote the rights of the disabled.
The Magna Carta for the disabled recognizes and encourages the participation of the private sector in promoting the welfare of disabled persons. I am thus enthused with the active involvement of the Association of Disabled Persons-Iloilo (ADP-I) in advancing the rights and interests of our disabled citizens. The ADP-I is a self-help group which uplifts persons with disability through its numerous programs, with the aim of integrating disabled individuals to the mainstream of society.
I firmly believe that disabled persons should have equal opportunity in pursuing their dreams and personal aspirations. I therefore support the efforts of the ADP-I and the concerned government agencies in removing all cultural and economic barriers that are prejudicial to our disabled citizens. Thank you very much and may you all have a meaningful and fruitful Regional Congress.