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COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES EXAMINED THE REPORT OF THE PHILIPPINES

13 September 2018

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities concluded today its consideration of the initial report of the Philippines on the efforts to implement its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Introducing the report, Virginia Orogo, Secretary of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, outlined the legal and institutional framework for disability rights, mentioning in particular the National Council on Disability Affairs and the 1992 Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.  Efforts in support of persons with disabilities had started a long time ago, she said, but it was only after becoming a State party to the Convention that a major shift in a paradigm on disability had occurred; it facilitated the empowerment of persons with disabilities as rights-holders and not merely seeing them as objects of charity, perennially dependent on welfare support.  The Magna Carta had been enhanced to respond to the evolving needs and concerns of the disabled persons, from prohibiting disability-based discrimination, verbal and non-verbal ridicule and vilification, to granting discounts and economic subsidies on goods and services to ensure the full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in all areas of development.  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 for the full enjoyment of their rights.  The Philippines, concluded Secretary Orogo, was firmly committed to revisiting and further improving laws, policies, and programmes in order to render them more responsive and not restrictive, more attuned to the needs and concerns of persons with disabilities, and anchored in human rights principles and approaches.

The national human rights institution from the Philippines, the Commission on the Human Rights, commended the Government’s efforts to progressively fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities, and recommended that timelines be provided for the concrete measures which aimed to deliver specific services.  It urged the Government to establish an independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Convention, and to enact, as soon as possible, the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Bill and the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill.

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.  The Philippines should, as soon as possible, take steps to abolish the guardianship regime and the legal provisions allowing for the restriction of legal capacity on the basis of impairment, and replace it with a supported decision-making system.  What was being done to integrate disability perspectives into the Anti-Violence Act Against Women and Their Children of 2004, they asked, given the grave concern about the reports of violence, abuse and exploitation of persons with disabilities including by criminal gangs.

In concluding remarks, Michael Ong, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary at the Office of the President of the Philippines, recognized and cherished the values on which the Committee’s concerns were based, and said that the Philippines would exert greater efforts to translate those values into tangible benefits for all its persons with disabilities.

Theresia Degener, Committee Chairperson, in her concluding remarks, praised the constructive dialogue and expressed hoped that the Committee’s concluding observations further the implementation of the Convention in the Philippines.

The delegation of the Philippines included representatives of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Office of the President, Presidential Human Rights Committee, Department of Education, Department of Transportation, Department of Justice, Department of Interior and Local Government, National Council on Disability Affairs, Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Labour and Employment, Department of Health, Philippine Commission on Women, Department of Public Works and Highways, as well as members of the Permanent Mission of the Philippines to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

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 3 p.m. today, 13 September, to mark the International Day of Sign Languages.


Report

The Committee has before it the initial report of the Philippines (CRPD/C/PHL/1).

Presentation of the Report

VIRGINIA OROGO, Secretary of Social Welfare and Development of the Philippines, introducing the report, emphasized that the Constitution provided for the establishment of a special agency for the rehabilitation, self-development, self-reliance and the integration of persons with disabilities.  The National Commission Concerning Disabled Persons, created in 1978 under the Office of the President, had become in 2008 the National Council on Disability Affairs, under the supervision of the Department of Social Welfare and Development.  The Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, enacted in 1992, strengthened the already existing Accessibility Law that sought to address barriers to mobility in the built environment and infrastructure.  The Philippines, said Secretary Orogo, was proud of its efforts in support of persons with disabilities even before the ratification of the Convention, but it was only after becoming a State party to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that a major shift in a paradigm on disability occurred.  It enabled the Government to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities by empowering them as rights-holders and not merely objects of charity, perennially dependent on the Government, people, and society in general for welfare support. 

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 June 2018, President Duterte had signed the Mental Health Act, mandating State support for persons with mental health conditions. 

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.  The Philippines remained conscious of the constant need to address the challenge of resource availability that limited the performance of the institutional mechanisms at the national and local levels.  Its Government, concluded Secretary Orogo, was firmly committed to revisiting and further improving laws, policies, and programmes in order to render them more responsive and not restrictive, more attuned to the needs and concerns of persons with disabilities, and anchored in human rights principles and approaches.

Questions by the Country Rapporteur

HYUNG SHIK KIM, Committee Rapporteur for the Philippines, recognized that the big delegation that the country had sent to this interactive dialogue was a reflection of its commitment to the implementation of the Convention.  The Rapporteur dully acknowledged the efforts of the State party to reform and align its legal instruments and then thanked civil society organizations and representative organizations of persons with disabilities for their submissions which contained a number of critical information.  One of the issues mentioned in those submissions was that the core of the Magna Carta had not changed the fundamental provisions, such as the definition of a person with disabilities

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 State Party’s overall directions to implement the Convention, as well as explain efforts and initiatives that would be taken in the near future.  The State party had undertaken many initiatives, but it was not clear whether those were short-term, medium-term, or long-term policy objectives. 

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 the Philippines to reconsider ratifying the Optional Protocol to Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in order to enable the persons with disabilities to seek justice through international mechanisms. 

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 Department of Health were those typical of impairment-based approach, and added that the recently adopted initiatives, the Philippines would soon be ready to implement a human rights-based disability assessment process, in line with the Convention.

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 Supreme Court had found no violation of equal protection clause because the action by the company had been deemed an affirmative action in favour of persons with disabilities.  The Magna Carta was being used as basis for the equal treatment and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities, said the delegate, explaining that the alleged offender would first receive a letter from the State; in case of no response, the State would ask a relevant Department to conduct an investigation, which would then be followed by a criminal or administrative charge, if necessary.
 
The Philippines was opened to the idea of revising the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995 and the Anti-Violence Act Against Women and Their Children Act of 2004, a delegate said, noting that representatives of persons with disabilities - especially women - were being asked to participate in consultations on draft revisions, to ensure the rights of persons with disabilities were respected. 

The Department of Education was committed to protecting and promoting the right of every Philippino to a quality, equitable, culture-based, and complete basic education, where students learned in a child friendly, gender sensitive, safe, and motivating environment, as laid down by the Basic Education Act of 2001.  Under the Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013, the Department continued to implement special education programmes, with a primary aim of preparing learners with disabilities to become self-directed and valued active learners, and equipping them with necessary skills to become contributing members of the society.  The Department of Education had institutionalized the special education programme in the public school system, in support of the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability and in consonance with the equal education opportunity for all children, regardless of their regardless of physical, intellectual, social, emotional, linguistics, or other condition, as articulated in the Salamanca Statement for Action on Special Needs Education adopted in 1994, and of which the Philippines was a signatory.  

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 Department of Public Works and highways was conducting periodic accessibility assessments of all buildings, public and private; at the moment, due to a large number of ongoing construction activities, it was impossible to tell how many building were accessible and how many were not.  The delegation stressed that in 2017, the Department had allocated US$ 320 million to enhance accessibility for persons with reduced mobility.  The discussions on providing accessible automatic teller machines were in the pipeline, the delegate said, adding that the Department of Education continued to provide US$ 1.85 million from its budget for textbooks and instruction materials for learners with special education needs.

The First National Child Protection Summit, organized in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund and the Child Protection Network, had taken place in August 2018 with the aim to consult all partners and stakeholders and identify issues and strategies to strengthen the protection of children at school.

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 the Philippines implemented the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, and specifically how persons with disabilities were involved in planning and preparedness exercises.  How were evacuation procedures taking into account persons with disabilities?
 
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?

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, stressed that the Committee was not opposed to the prevention of impairment through preventing traffic, labour or other accidents or preventing malnutrition, and cautioned that this was not a matter of disability rights but of economic, social and cultural rights.  Did the Philippines implement the recommendation made to it in 2015 by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women related to guaranteeing sexual and reproductive rights to all women and women with disabilities in particular?

HYUNG SHIK KIM, Committee Rapporteur for the Philippines, asked about the disability support indicators and how often were they monitored and expressed concern about the use of the abbreviated term “PWD" instead of “persons with disabilities”, which might hamper the progress on raising awareness and knowledge about disability rights.

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 the Philippines was a country extremely vulnerable to natural disasters such as typhoons.  Persons with disabilities were involved in developing plans and programmes to prepare and respond to such disasters, for example the Disaster Risk Management Manual had been developed in partnership with the international non-governmental organization Handicap International and representative organizations of persons with disabilities. 

It had been included in the training of the officials from the Department of Local Government and the Disaster Management Council, which was closely working with the National Council on Disability Affairs in all clusters related to disaster and emergency planning, preparedness and response.  The presence of the National Council on Disability Affairs ensured that all programmes and policies at the local level, including disaster risk reduction and management interventions, addressed the needs of persons with disabilities.  The budget for disaster risk reduction and resilience had been increased from US$ 295 million in 2013 to US$ 2 billion in 2016.

A blind person could independently open a bank account, with a certification from the National Council on Disability Affairs, said a delegate, adding that the banks were required to modernize the automatic teller machines and make them accessible to people with visual impairments. 

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 Department of Justice and the Office of the Attorney General were conducting awareness and sensitivity workshops for prosecutors and public attorneys to build their capacity to address the needs of persons with disabilities in a more efficient manner.  National agencies were collecting data on the violations of the integrity of persons with disabilities.

The National Council on Disability Affairs looked into the terminology used in relation to persons with disabilities and had proposed changes in order to harmonize the language used throughout the laws and ensure that the terminology was consistent with the Convention.  The abbreviation “PWD” was no longer being used.

The delegation explained that all international treaties ratified by the Philippines became a part of the domestic law, and this was also the case with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which was very much a part of the national law.

Circular N°23 addressed the situation of children without parental care, temporary or permanent.  Those temporarily without parental care were in kin placements or in community-based foster care, while children permanently without parental care were in legal custody.  There would be no further establishment of residential care facilities by public or private agencies, the delegation confirmed.  The Government was working on identifying children would continue to require residential care services, and was ensuring that the number of new admissions to residential institutions never exceeded number of discharged persons.

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 Department of Social Welfare and Development or to a licenced placement agency.

The right of persons with disabilities to live independently and integrate in the community was embraced in the Philippines.  The Magna Carta for Persons with Disability addressed the context of independence and the support was available to make this right a reality.  The fully inclusive equality had not yet been achieved, but the principles of Article 19 were being seriously implemented to increase autonomy of persons with disabilities, including through accessible transport, communication technology, and other services open to public.  The Government had proposed the establishment of a Disability Support Fund to augment the resources allocated at the national and local levels, and which could not fully meet the needs of persons with disabilities.  All persons with disabilities were entitled to a tax relief and incentives for the purchase of assistive devices.

The Philippines had taken into account the recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women concerning the protection and promotion of sexual and reproductive health rights of women, including women with disabilities.

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 Philippines was a party to the Marrakesh Treaty, an Expert remarked and asked how it provided access to learning and teaching material for learners with disabilities, in basic, technical, vocational and higher education.  Was the public information being provided in easy read for the citizens with intellectual disabilities? 

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 Parliament?  Were persons with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities allowed to vote and what measures were available to support the realization of their right to vote?

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, remarked that the concept of legal capacity, a system of substituted decision-making, and guardianship law were frozen in history and were not in line with the Convention.

Another Expert asked why the State did not adequately support the pilot personal assistance service project.

HYUNG SHIK KIM, Committee Rapporteur for the Philippines, inquired about the abuse of student by their teachers and action taken to address it.  A clear strategy to promote and ensure transition from an institution to an independent living was lacking, and there was no national sign language.  To what extent persons with disabilities and their representative organizations were involved in monitoring, managing and implementing international aid projects or disability-inclusive projects?

Responses by the Delegation

The Philippines did not have the capacity to provide easy read at the moment, but the Department of Information and Communication Technology would address the matter and provide available alternative information in accessible formats.  Deaf persons could not receive a driving license only for a public utility vehicle.

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. 

The Department of Education continued to increase the number of recognized centres, on top of inclusive education classes that were being promoted.  The resources provided to schools had already been raised.  The whole idea was to expand the scope of ways of the inclusion of learners with special education needs in a regular school system and eventually into the community.

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 Disability Support Fund would address any deficiencies in services available to persons with disabilities in hospitals.

As of August 2017, a total of 7,250 persons with disabilities were employed in the public and 3,504 in the private sector.  The public sector fell short of the one per cent quota for persons with disabilities, and the Government was actively working on encouraging all its agencies to hire more persons with disabilities, and the Department of Labour and Employment remained focused on promoting the employment, protection and welfare of persons with disabilities, as well as ensuring their participation in and the contribution to the national effort toward the end goal of inclusive growth.

Statement by the National Human Rights Institution

Commission on the Human Rights Philippines commended the Government’s efforts to progressively fulfil the rights of persons with disabilities, and recommended that timelines be provided for the concrete measures which aimed to deliver specific services.  Pursuant to its constitutional mandate to monitor the compliance with treaty obligations, the Commission had developed a monitoring tool, in partnership with the University of Asia and the Pacific, to determine the extent to which public programmes and services met the needs of persons with disabilities.  The Commission urged the Government to establish an independent mechanism to monitor the implementation of the Convention, and to enact, as soon as possible, the Inclusive Education for Children and Youth with Special Needs Bill and the Comprehensive Antidiscrimination Bill.

Concluding Remarks

MICHAEL ONG, Senior Deputy Executive Secretary at the Office of the President of the Philippines, concluded by saying that the delegation endeavoured to update the Committee on what the Philippines was doing to remove persons with disabilities from the shadows of the society and bring them into the mainstream of the life of the nation.  The Government recognized and cherished the values on which the Committee’s concerns were based, and would exert greater efforts to translate those values into tangible benefits for all persons with disabilities in the Philippines, and work towards further strengthening monitoring mechanisms in order to ensure the State’s proper response to the Committee’s concluding observations and remarks.

THERESIA DEGENER, Committee Chairperson, in her concluding remarks, praised the constructive dialogue and expressed hope that the Committee’s concluding observations would further the implementation of the Convention in the Philippines.


For use of the information media; not an official record 

CRPD18/020E