What was once a dream, is slowly blossoming into a reality. What started in December 2010 is now a full blown Philippine Coalition on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) comprised of the largest national organizations and federations for Persons with Disabilities in the country. The Coalition includes nine different disability constituencies: visually-impaired, speech-impaired, deaf, deafblind, mobility-challenged; persons with extensive disability, intellectual disability, psychosocial disability and chronic illness. The purpose of the Coalition is to build the capacity of disabled peoples’ organizations to themselves monitor the implementation of the U.N. CRPD. It shall submit the first Alternative Report from civil society on the compliance of the government to the treaty which was ratified in 2008. It is also submitting inputs from the disability sector for the U.N. Universal Periodic Review slated also for next year.
For decades, the sector has been seeking services and programs from the government in order to participate in all areas of life. Among the core issues for the sector are education, economic empowerment, access to justice, independent living, and accessibility. Workshops held this year in February, May and July with capacity-building partner, the International Disability Alliance (IDA), were initiated with a Core Group of 15 members. Four members of the Core Group attended the fifth CRPD Committee session in Geneva, Switzerland in April and exchanged learnings with Hungary, Peru, India and Morocco.
In September, three other Core Group members shall again go to Geneva for further training with the IDA together with India, Nepal, Colombia and Rwanda.
Vital partnerships have emerged with organizations such as: Social Watch Philippines / Alternative Budget Initiative; the Ateneo Human Rights Center, Global Call to Action Against Poverty, PhilRights, Physicians for Peace, and several others. Interactions have also taken place with the Commission on Human Rights, as well as the National Council for Disability Affairs, and the Presidential Human Rights Committee, for the State Report. The sector is planning a series of Regional Consultations to gather data in the different provinces. It has also initiated the translation of the U.N. CRPD into Filipino, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicolano, Kapampangan, Pangasinense, Tausug and Filipino Sign Language. The ongoing deliberations on the national budget have also given opportunities for the sector to engage with legislators and lobby for disability concerns and insertions into the 2012 budget. Champions for disability issues include Representatives Pryde Henry Teves, Teddy Casino, Luz Ilagan and Antonio Tinio.
The Coalition would also like to see a review of domestic legislation to modify or abolish discriminatory laws, and harmonize these with the CRPD. The underlying view of disability by the CRPD is one of a social, rights-based model, a shift from the purely medical or traditional charity perspective. Key principles include dignity, equality and the full and effective participation of all Persons With Disabilities in all matters and decisions affecting their lives.
Persons with Disabilities are of equal status as the rest of the Filipinos, thus, they too shall fully participate, contribute and enjoy all human rights.
Philippine Coalition on the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy
Autism Society Philippines
Government Union for Disabled Employees
Katipunan ng mga Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas
Las Pinas Federation of Persons with Disabilities
Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines
New Vois Association
Parents Association of Visually impaired Children
Phlippine Association of Children With Learning and Developmental Disabilities
Philippine Chamber for Massage Industry for Visually Impaired
Philippine Deaf Resource Center
Philippine Federation of the Deaf
Quezon City Federation of Persons With Disabilities
Tahanang Walang Hagdanan
Women with Disabilities Leap To Social and Economic Progress