Introducing the report,
The national human rights institution from
In the dialogue that followed, Committee Experts dully acknowledged the efforts of the State party to reform its legislation and align it with the provisions of the Convention, and remarked that the fundamental provisions, the core of the Magna Carta, remained unchanged, for example in how it defined a person with disabilities, and whether the protection from disability-based discrimination that it offered, was sufficient. The concern also remained about the multiplicity of disability assessment processes and the lack of involvement of persons with disabilities and their organizations in that reform, and about the continued use of criteria that promoted impairment- rather than capacity-based approach to disability assessment. The Experts took positive note of the ongoing public transportation modernization programme and asked about the concrete initiatives to improve accessibility of public transports, buildings, information and communication technology, and automatic teller machines.
In concluding remarks,
The delegation of
All the documents relating to the Committee's work, including reports submitted by States parties, can be found on the session's webpage. The webcast of the Committee's public meetings will be available via the following link: http://webtv.un.org/meetings-events/.
The Committee will next meet in public at
The Committee has before it the initial report of
Presentation of the Report
The empowerment being was pursued through comprehensive programme strategies and the enhancements of the Magna Carta to respond to the evolving needs and concerns of the sector, from the prohibition of disability-based discrimination, and verbal and non-verbal ridicule and vilification, to grants, discounts and economic subsidies on goods and services to ensure the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in all areas of development. In 2010, the Magna Carta had been enhanced to institutionalize a mechanism for the participation of persons with disabilities at the local level of the Government through the establishment of Disability Affairs Offices in every municipality, city and province in the country. The Accessibility Law had been fine tuned to properly address the physical, communication and technology barriers that persons with disabilities encountered on a daily basis, while the 2016 law had expanded the privileges and benefits for persons with disabilities through further discounts on major products and key services, exemptions from value added taxation, social insurance, educational assistance, and many more. In
The ratification of the Convention had also raised awareness about the need to consult and engage in a dialogue with persons with disabilities and their organizations to enable the articulation of their demands to the State for the full enjoyment of their rights. Disability rights were being mainstreamed in various programmes and initiatives, such as in health programmes, including on sexual and reproductive health, education, employment, justice, and transportation, and there were awareness-raising campaigns and capacity-building programmes.
Questions by the Country Rapporteur
The delegation was asked to explain how it was harmonizing the major legislation, in particular the Magna Carta of Persons with Disabilities of 1992, and how its subsequent amendments in 2007 and 2016 protected persons with disabilities from discrimination, in view of the law which still imposed a rigid view of disability and discrimination.
The Committee would expect that dialogue would provide information to deepen the understanding of the
Questions by the Experts
Other Experts inquired about the criteria used in the disability assessment and certification process and whether the multiple methods of assessment of disability would be eliminated.
Which laws had been abrogated during the improvements of the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, Experts asked, and requested the information on the plans to bring the terminology used laws concerning persons with disabilities in line with the Convention.
The report was silent on the existence of an action plan for the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities in the country and the implementation of the Convention - was there such an action plan? How were the members of the delegation trained in proper understanding and interpretation of each article of the Convention? How was the knowledge of and about the Convention disseminated among judges, lawyers, prosecutors, civil servants, social workers, policemen, teachers, and politicians?
On disability-based discrimination, Committee Experts asked about the process in place that documented complaints of discrimination on the basis of disability, the availability of remedies to complainants, and the number of such cases handled by the courts, both administrative and criminal.
Experts acknowledged the ongoing public transportation modernization programme and asked about the concrete initiatives to improve accessibility for persons with disabilities that had been adopted or planned. How many of the current number of buildings were accessible and how many automated teller machines had been adapted to the use by visually impaired persons?
On the involvement of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in decision-making processes, the delegation was asked to explain the current mechanisms in place and to inform on a plan to meaningfully involve them in the process of making and amending laws; defining and adopting accessibility standards; and in the design of the disability assessment process and mechanism. Which concrete legislation strategies were in place that ensured that representative organizations of persons with disabilities were properly involved and consulted on all legislation and policy, before their adoption? How was the Government providing sufficient financial support to representative organizations of persons with disabilities?
Turning to violence against persons with disabilities, Experts asked for data and statistics on sexual violence against girls and women with disabilities and inquired about the State party's intention concerning the revision of the 2004 Anti-Violence Act Against Women and Their Children to include disability perspective.
Committee Experts encouraged
Responses by the Delegation
In response to questions raised about the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, the delegation said that the legislation to harmonize it with the requirements and provisions of the Convention had already been adopted. Measures had been taken to either abolish or amend some of the restrictive provisions of the Magna Carta, thus for example the five percent employment quota, which only covered emergency and contract workers, had been replaced with the one per cent quota in all jobs in the public sector, and in all private companies employing over 100 workers.
On the disability assessment criteria, a delegate explained that those used by the
The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention remained under review, the delegation explained, stressing the preference for the continued implementation of domestic laws favourable to the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Disability Affairs Offices were up and running in 60 percent of local Government units. Steps were being taken to improve data collection with the ultimate objective of addressing the limited availability demographic and socioeconomic data related to disability statistics. Public officials and civil servants from a range of Government agencies, including Women's and children's divisions of the police, attended training programmes in gender sensitivity and disability awareness.
Turning to the issue of disability-based discrimination, the delegate informed of a recent
Supreme Court case involving a pharmaceutical company which provided a 20 per cent discount for persons with disabilities. The
A policy adopted in 2009, titled Inclusive education as a strategy for increasing the participation rate of children, had anchored the Department's special education programme on rights-based education. The policy, inter alia, encouraged parents of children with disabilities to enrol their children in special education centres or in schools nearest to their homes, and had introduced three programme options: self-contained class, inclusion or placement in regular class and the resource room programme. This offer had been further expanded under the enhanced education programme, to include a range of forms of education provision, such as special classes, special day schools, special education centres, and inclusive education, as well as alternative models, including community-based rehabilitation services, home-based instruction, community-based special education programme.
A training programme in inclusive education had been developed for administrators and supervisors, and a scholarship programme for special education teachers, particularly those handling children with autism spectrum disorder.
Turning to the awareness raising campaigns organized by the Government, the delegation said that each month, different celebrations took place, organized with the involvement and inclusion of persons with disabilities and their organizations.
When it came to action plans, the Government was finalizing the third National Human Rights Plan, which was directly linked to the overarching national development plan. It encompassed a range of issues, including the rights of persons with disabilities, thus ensuring that the disability rights, principles and standards would be addressed in all Government's plans.
The accessibility standards would be incorporated in the ongoing modernization of the public transportation, which was being implemented by all transportation actors and stakeholders.
The First National Child Protection Summit, organized in partnership with the
Questions by the Committee Experts
In the next round of questions, the Experts asked whether a blind person could open a bank account without a co-signatory, and if not, what was available to them to protect their finances and property.
In terms of preparedness for disaster and disaster risk management, the Expert asked how
Turning to the situation of persons with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, Experts asked whether they could own, sell, or inherit property, such as home, and also wanted to know what happened if such as person committed a crime - would he or she be sent to a mental health facility, or be able to stand trial and receive necessary support including reasonable accommodation. What was being done to abolish guardianship laws and remove all legal provisions that allowed for the restriction of legal capacity on the basis of impairment, and to put in place supported-decision making mechanism in line with the Convention and the Committee's General Comment N 1?
The Committee had been informed that there were cases of persons with disabilities coerced into begging and exploited by criminal groups, an Expert said with concern, asking about the monitoring of such phenomena and measures in place to protect persons with disabilities from violence, exploitation and abuse.
Were any campaigns being conducted to change the culture and promote the participation of persons with disabilities at the different stages of legal proceedings? How could persons with disabilities bring their cases in front of the court, particularly those concerning discrimination, what forms of legal assistance was available to them?
As for the right to live independently and be included in the community, the delegation was asked how it made article 19 of the Convention a reality for all persons with disabilities including those with intellectual disabilities. What were concrete policies, action plans and roadmaps for deinstitutionalization?
Another Expert asked how the State party would ensure the quality of Braille production and other forms of accessible textbooks for technical education and higher education level for persons with disabilities?
Responses by the Delegation
In response to questions related to persons with disabilities in situations of risk and humanitarian emergencies, especially their participation in planning and preparedness exercises and processes, the delegation said that
It had been included in the training of the officials from the
A blind person could independently open a bank account, with a certification from the
Guardianship was not mandatory but was rather based on necessity. Legal capacity was a subject of legal provisions; the limitations were not presumed - capacity had to be proven, which was not easy in case of mental disability or impairment. Equality before the law, continued the delegate, was a fundamental philosophy, and laws were very protective as far as persons with disabilities were concerned.
Article 12 of the revised Penal Code did state that the person who was proven "insane" would be confined to an asylum to which he or she could be committed only by the decision of the court, in keeping with a shift from a medical to a rights-based approach. Each and every person with a psychosocial disability was free to marry and the marriage was considered valid.
Presenting data and statistics on access to justice, the delegation said that in 2014, the public attorney's office had served 2,063 individuals; 2,009 in 2015; 13,883 in 2016; and 9,698 in 2017. There were 33 legal aid desks nationwide, which was very progressive but not enough.
The delegation explained that all international treaties ratified by
A 1973 law addressed begging in the streets, aimed not only to eradicate the phenomenon but also strived to promote social justice and protect life and dignity of the citizens. Persons with disabilities who were found begging were committed to the care of the
The right of persons with disabilities to live independently and integrate in the community was embraced in
Questions by the Committee Experts
Starting the final round of the interactive dialogue, a Committee Expert asked whether cultural events, festivals, and concerts were accessible to persons with disabilities, and how athletes with disabilities were supported to participate in international competitions.
The delegation was asked about measures adopted to improve health outcomes of persons with intellectual disabilities, particularly those living in institutions, and the parental support available to families of children with disabilities.
On the matter of inclusive education, what was being done to ensure access of all children with disabilities to education and to train teachers and other relevant staff in teaching and educating children with disabilities.
Was it true that a deaf person could not obtain a driving license, and if so, what would be done about this? Were there training programmes and certifications for sign language interpreters? How could persons with disabilities access a sign language interpreter in various service-providing public institutions?
How many persons with disabilities were currently present in
Another Expert asked why the State did not adequately support the pilot personal assistance service project.
Responses by the Delegation
A sign language accreditation body was yet to be set up, a delegate said, adding that the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 understood the significance of a mother tongue-based multilingual education; its salient feature was the development of the Filipino sign language.
Turning to the issue of improving health outcomes of persons with disabilities, the delegation outlined the initiatives such as the law which provided 20 per cent discount in value added consumption for medicines, medical devices and health services for persons with disabilities; and the health and rehabilitation benefit packages for children with disabilities. The New Born Screening Act of 2004 ensured that every baby was screened by universally accepted programme aimed at an early identification of certain genetic and metabolic conditions that could lead to a permanent disability and even death if left unattended. Medicines were free for in-patients with disabilities and there was a small charge for the outpatients. New centres had been launched to provide health care services to both impatiens and outpatients, while the
Statement by the