MANILA - Persons with disabilities (PWD) in the Philippines "continued to face discrimination" in 2018 as a policy crafted to help them "was not effectively enforced," the US State Department said in its annual human rights report released Thursday.
The National Council for Disability Affairs crafted a policy for the rehabilitation, self-development, and self-reliance of PWDs but the "law was not effectively enforced, and many barriers remained for persons with disabilities," the US State Department said in its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2018.
"The great majority of public buildings remained inaccessible to persons with physical disabilities. Many schools had architectural barriers that made attendance difficult for persons with disabilities. Government efforts to improve access to transportation for persons with disabilities were limited," the report noted.
"The Department of Education’s 648 separate education centers did not provide nationwide coverage, and the government lacked a clear system for informing parents of children with disabilities of their educational rights and did not have a well defined procedure for reporting discrimination in education," it noted.
Policies for PWDs were ineffective due to weak implementation, insufficient funding, and inadequately focused integrative government programs," the report said, citing information from advocacy groups in the country.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development provided services for 3,374 PWDs in 2018, "significantly more" than estimated figures in 2017, but only 60 percent of local government units had an office dedicated for PWDs, it noted.
The Mental Health Law and a constitutional provision that prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities were among the policies that level the field for PWDs, it said.
It also noted how PWDs faced discrimination in seeking jobs.
"Persons with disabilities experienced discrimination in hiring and employment. The labor department estimated that only 10 percent of employable persons with disabilities were able to find work," the report read.
The US State Department has been producing annual human rights reports on all countries receiving assistance and all United Nations member states since 1977.