House okays rehab centers for children and youth

THE House of Representatives has approved on second reading a measure establishing city and municipal rehabilitation centers for children and youth with disabilities that will ensure a more meaningful, productive, and satisfying life for children and youth with disabilities.

House Bill 6509 which substituted House Bill 3665 authored by Rep. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna) was endorsed for plenary approval by the House Committee on Social Service chaired by Rep. Arturo Robes (Lone District, San Jose del Monte City).

Casiño cited the 2000 Census of Population and Housing in the Philippines which reported that there are 942,098 persons with disabilities (PWDs) or about 1.23 percent of the total population in the country.

According to Casiño, Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development, “it is estimated that one in 20 households has at least one member that has a disability, half of whom are not able to attend and finish elementary education.”

“Compared to people without disabilities, PWDs are three times more likely not to attend school or to have finished any grade level and more than 40 percent of PWDs are also not gainfully employed,” Casiño said.

“The establishment of rehabilitation centers in all cities and municipalities shall empower children and young adults with disabilities as well as the communities they live in,” Casiño added.

The measure mandates the host local government units (LGUs) to provide the land, construction of the center and purchase the necessary equipment if there is no existing structure in the area.

To ensure the safety and accessibility to PWDs, the location of the center shall be guided by statistical data indicating the location of PWDs as provided by the Department of Health (DOH).

“In order to facilitate community-based rehabilitation programs, satellite facilities may be established in municipalities and barangays, if necessary,” Casiño said.

Casiño said the bill is in line with the government’s concern and responsibility to facilitate the rehabilitation of PWDs as provided by Republic Act 7222 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities and the United Nation’s Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities.

The centers will provide physical and social rehabilitation services, educational and psycho-social services, and act as an information hub on matters pertaining to the rights and privileges of PWDs.

The host LGU shall require other cities and municipalities to pay referral fees for every child or youth with disability referred to the center. Referral fees collected shall be utilized for the operation and maintenance of the center and salary of personnel.

All grants, endowments, donations and contributions to the centers shall be exempt from donor’s tax and shall be allowed as deductions from the donor’s gross income.

The measure mandates the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) to promulgate the implementing rules and regulations.

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