Persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Muntinlupa now have a reason to hope as Muntinlupa City Mayor Jaime R. Fresnedi has finally put the spotlight on this often-marginalized sector of society.
Fresnedi is leading efforts for the creation of the first Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) in Muntinlupa in hopes of taking better care of PWDs through programs, improvements, and a cultural paradigm shift aimed at uplifting their welfare.
“It’s unfortunate that the welfare of PWDs in Muntinlupa has been neglected for quite some time,” Fresnedi said. “We are now taking extra effort to make the City more accommodating towards persons with special needs because they are also Muntinlupeños.”
Among the initiatives included with the creation of the PDAO are surveying the total PWD population in Muntinlupa and creating a database of their specific needs and conditions. The City’s Social Services Department estimates 2,000 PWDs based in Muntinlupa but admits this still needs to be verified.
The initiative also involves the creation of livelihood and employment opportunities for PWDs. Fresnedi has directed the City’s Public Employment Services Office (PESO) to look into this matter and coordinate with businesses in Muntinlupa to give PWDs the jobs they need.
Fresnedi is first to point out that Muntinlupa has lagged in adhering to the provisions of Republic Act No. 10070, also known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, in terms of disabled-friendly structures such as access ramps in all buildings and venues.
Fresnedi is also calling for increased awareness to the plight of PWDs as well as sensitivity to their condition. “We need to educate our citizens on how to treat PWDs with the respect that they deserve,” he added.
In line with this, an education program aiming to strengthen PWDs as they interact with society as well as teaching the proper cultural attitudes of the general population is to be implemented in the City.
Fresnedi is known in Muntinlupa for his disabled-friendly policies. During his first nine years as Mayor, Fresnedi personally delivered wheelchairs to deserving recipients through his Gulong ng Buhay (Wheels of Life) program.