SWP calls for a universal support allowance for persons with disabilities
SOCIALWATCH PHILS·NOVEMBER 25, 2020
To cope with their already challenging circumstance prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, persons with disabilities need disability support allowance to be rolled out progressively, local budget watchdog Social Watch Philippines (SWP) said in a statement.
“In complementation of existing measures and schemes, adopting and progressively rolling out a universal disability support allowance of 2,000 pesos a month will effectively address some of the most critical needs of this particularly vulnerable sector,” the SWP said.
According to the SWP, the proposal will provide basic income support to families of children with disabilities, and persons with disabilities who are unable to work.
“The initial rollout of disability support allowance should be for all children with disabilities and adults with disabilities with higher support needs and disability costs, and those who may face significant barriers and lack of support for employment,” the SWP said.
The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the vulnerabilities of persons with disabilities and highlighted the limits of the country’s current social protection system, the SWP also said.
“Despite the government efforts to roll out new measures, most persons with disabilities have not yet received any support seven months now after the first lockdown based on the quick survey conducted by the Philippine Coalition on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD),” it added.
A United Nations study released in May this year observed that Middle-income countries with more comprehensive social protection systems, including national disability registry, universal disability allowance and support services were able to provide rapid relief.
Overall, persons with disabilities have less income and more expenses than those without disabilities, which greatly increase their vulnerability, and undermine their economic empowerment and escape from poverty, the group elaborated.
According to the budget watchdog, “the persons with disabilities have been asking the government for increased budget for years, but allocation from 2018 to 2020 have been gradually decreasing instead.”
A report from the 2016 National Disability Prevalence Survey says that there are at least 12 percent of persons with disabilities age 15 and over which face significant barriers in accessing education and health care, community and citizenship participation, and seizing economic opportunities.
Due to the lack of support services, most of those requiring personal assistance have to rely on family members who have to reduce or stop working to provide such support, the group further explained. ###
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