Patricia Laririt A PWD claims their cash benefit from the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office. // Photo courtesy of PIO Palawan

The Provincial Board is pushing for the creation of a special body that will focus on formulating policies and programs for the benefit of persons with disabilities (PWD).

The ordinance to create the Provincial Council on the Welfare of PWDs was approved Tuesday, August 17, by the Board, and is now awaiting the signature of Palawan governor Jose Ch. Alvarez.

The ordinance said the special body will ensure that “all PWDs in Palawan are given equitable, proper, and prompt services intended for them, thereby developing their morale, self-sufficiency, self-esteem, and independence and making them assets in society”.

“Moreover, the council shall represent the [PWD] sector and shall advocate for their rights and privileges,” it added.

The proposed composition of the council will be chaired by the Governor’s Office, that will be in charge of approving programs and proposals by its members and preside during council meetings. The Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO) will serve as the secretariat, and the Provincial Persons with Disabilty Affairs Office (PDAO) will ensure that all approved programs are implemented well.

Other line agencies intended for the council’s composition include the Provincial Health Office (PHO), Planning and Development Office, Engineering, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Employment Service, Agriculture, Tourism Promotions and Development, Information, and the Economic Enterprise Development Office.

One of the main proponents of the ordinance, Board Member Maria Angela Sabando, said in an interview that even though PWD services are being offered by line agencies such as the PSWDO, the proposed council will specialize and prioritize the needs of PWDs, as other line agencies also attend to the needs of other vulnerable sectors.

“Ang policy-making kasi mas kailangan, mas kailangang bigyan ng pansin. Kasi kung PSWDO lang, walang nakatutok, pero ang council sa PWDs lang talaga,” said Sabando.