Netizen shares dismay over lack of PWD-friendly facilities in PH, DOTr responds

MANILA, Philippines – A netizen aired his dismay over the shortage of facilities meant to help persons with disabilities (PWD).
Netizen shares dismay over lack of PWD-friendly facilities in PH

Kevin Bola couldn't help but be disappointed that amid the progress we are experiencing, it seems like the PWDs are left behind. He saw a PWD having a hard time taking the stairs at the LRT Recto station. Because there was no ramp or elevator for his wheelchair, he had to ask two security personnel to assist him. Good thing the security guards were kind enough to carry his wheelchair up the stairs for him. But even though his wheelchair was already up the stairs, the PWD still had to endure the struggle of going up.

A PWD struggled to climb up the stairs
A PWD struggled to climb up the stairs as security guards helped him carry his wheelchair at the LRT Recto station. | Photo Courtesy: Kevin Bola

"Knowing that the stairway was too high for him, nakakaawa and I feel sorry for him to experience this kind of hassle being a PWD," Kevin said.

He called on The Department of Transport (DOTr) to look into making these public areas accessible for PWDs. Kevin continued that while there are a lot of elevators in the LRT but are not usable.

"There's a lot of elevators in LRT and even MRT that are not functioning — it made me conclude that maintenance of these lifts is not being focused on... DOTr should focus on this area," he added.

Meanwhile, Goddes Hope Libiran, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Commuter Affairs of the DOTr issued a statement on the viral post.

In a lengthy post on Facebook, Libiran admitted she understood the disappointment over the situation. She assured that they are working hard to make our public railways more PWD-friendly.

Libiran wrote, "We feel and understand your dismay, Sir. And our railways sector is doing everything we can to address the situation."

The transport official went on to explain that the facilities such as escalators and elevators became the subject of corruption. The LRTA management filed a complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman against LRTA officials, engineers and private contractors. According to their probe, a P138-million contract awarded to Ma-an Construction, Inc. and IFE Elevators, Inc. JV was riddled with anomalies.

Libiran explained that 13 escalators installed didn't pass the evaluation to renew its Certificate to Operate. "The required capacity under the contract is 9,000 passengers per hour but the installed escalators can accommodate only 6,000 passengers per hour," she said. Unfortunately, only one of the 13 escalators remain functional.

Libiran stated that actions are already being made against the companies for the substandard escalators and other equipment.

— Sally, The Summit Express

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