New Joint Circular Enhances Programs for Elderly and PWDs

Dandy Victa, NCDA executive director. Photo from NCDA
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The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) recently announced the signing of a joint memorandum circular (JMC) with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and two other government agencies. This agreement is set to ensure the effective implementation of various programs designed to cater to the needs of the elderly and persons with disabilities (PWDs).

During the “Bagong Pilipinas Ngayon” public forum on PTV-4, Dandy Victa, the executive director of NCDA, expressed his appreciation for the signing of the JMC. He emphasized that this agreement would provide extra focus on the welfare of PWDs and other vulnerable sectors of society.

The JMC provides comprehensive guidelines for reporting, monitoring, and utilizing funds for projects, programs, and activities aimed at benefiting senior citizens and PWDs. In addition to the DSWD and NCDA, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the National Commission of Senior Citizens (NCSC) are also signatories to the JMC.

Victa highlighted the importance of investing in these target sectors to help them become productive citizens. He emphasized that persons with disabilities should have access to the market, which requires the availability of disability support services to meet their developmental needs. However, he acknowledged that this vision cannot be realized without the government’s investment in the human capital development of all sectors.

By signing this agreement, Victa believes that the implementation of programs and activities for the elderly and PWDs will be more effectively monitored and evaluated. This ensures that the funds allocated for these initiatives are utilized efficiently and transparently.

Despite the positive steps taken through the JMC, Victa expressed concern about the lack of support services provided by some local government units (LGUs) for PWDs. He specifically mentioned the absence of amenities and support services such as interpreters or trained frontliners to assist deaf customers. These shortcomings hinder the full integration and participation of PWDs in society.

With the JMC in place, Victa stated that it would now be easier to identify the budget allocated by the concerned government agencies for the employment of PWDs. He emphasized the importance of including PWDs in open employment activities, as this would enhance their productivity and provide them with valuable opportunities for recruitment, hiring, and daily work routines.

Senator Sherwin Gatchalian commended the signing of the JMC and highlighted its significance in holding the entire government accountable for the welfare of two of the most vulnerable sectors in society—the elderly and PWDs. He emphasized the need for meaningful programs that go beyond mere tokenism, ensuring that government agencies at all levels, from the national government to the LGUs, actively participate in implementing these initiatives.

In conclusion, the signing of the joint memorandum circular marks a significant step towards enhancing programs and services for the elderly and persons with disabilities in the Philippines. The guidelines provided by the JMC will facilitate the efficient utilization of funds and the effective monitoring of initiatives. However, there is still a need for greater support from local government units to ensure the full inclusion and accessibility of PWDs. With the commitment of various government agencies and the advocacy of organizations like the NCDA, the welfare and empowerment of these vulnerable sectors can be prioritized and improved.

Source: The Manila Times

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