As Bicam report ratified, Gatchalian hails sweeping reform benefiting learners with disabilities

As Bicam report ratified, Gatchalian hails sweeping reform benefiting learners with disabilities

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — Senator Win Gatchalian hailed the
Senate’s ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on a
landmark measure ensuring accessible education and related services for
learners with disabilities.

The bicam report on the proposed measure, titled
“Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities
in Support of Inclusive Education Act,” settled disagreeing provisions on
Senate Bill No. 1907 and House Bill No. 8080.

“Ito ang pinakamagandang regalo natin sa mga
mag-aaral na may kapansanan at kanilang mga pamilya. Sa pamamagitan ng
panukalang batas na ito, matitiyak nating hindi na mapagkakaitan ng edukasyon
at mahahalagang mga serbisyo ang ating mga kabataan at mag-aaral na may
kapansanan,” said Gatchalian, co-author and sponsor of the measure.

The measure provides that all schools, whether
public or private, shall ensure equitable access to quality education to every
learner with disability, such that no learner shall be denied admission on the
basis of disability.

In crafting the proposed measure’s implementing
rules and regulations, minimum services and conditions will be set in the
admissions systems and policies of all schools. These include the provision of
assistive devices, facilities and infrastructure in the admission process, and
other forms of reasonable accommodation, among others.

The bill also seeks the creation of a national
network of Inclusive Learning Resource Centers of Learners with Disabilities
(ILRC), which will serve as a one-stop shop for the delivery of free support
services to learners with disabilities and the implementation of inclusive
education programs.

The Department of Education (DepEd), in
collaboration with local government units (LGUs), shall initially establish and
maintain at least one ILRC in all cities and municipalities. ILRCs may also be
established in every schools district based on the requirements of cities and
municipalities and the availability of resources.

Each ILRC will have a multidisciplinary team,
which will be composed of experts such as educational psychologists, guidance
counselors, developmental pediatricians, physical therapists, speech and
language therapists, special needs teachers, and other allied medical
professionals.

Gatchalian also thanked the co-authors and
co-sponsors of the measure: Senators Lito Lapid, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Angara,
Cynthia Villar, Joel Villanueva, Bong Revilla, Jr., Miguel Zubiri, Nancy Binay,
Risa Hontiveros, Bong Go, Richard Gordon, Leila de Lima, Francis Tolentino, and
Koko Pimentel. (ai/mtvn)

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