/ 13 December 2020

A NETWORK of education advocates commended the House of Representatives for unanimously voting to pass on final reading House Bill 8080, or the Instituting Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act, which will likewise establish Inclusive Learning Resource Centers in all school districts,

E-Net Philippines, a network of civil society organizations engaged in policy advocacy and partnerships for education reforms, praised Congress for voting 197-0-0 in passing the bill.

At the same time, the group also lauded the ongoing efforts in the Senate, under the Senate Basic Education, Arts and Culture Committee, to fast-track deliberations of a counterpart bill.

“E-Net Philippines while working closely with the Disability Sector, Advocates and Support Groups and the Department of Education, has been an active participant in preparing and advocating for improved versions of consolidated legislative bills filled in both Houses of Congress on Ensuring Inclusive Education for All Learners with Disabilities,” Prof. Flora Arellano, E-Net president, said in a statement.

E-Net Philippines noted that while education is enshrined as a fundamental right in the Philippine Constitution and in the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the access to appropriate inclusive education including instructional materials, assistive devices and trained teachers and specialists, to meet the needs of learners with disabilities, remain an elusive dream.

The Philippine government gave its word that the remaining years of its administration will focus on ‘malasakit’, one of its pillars for inclusive growth in the 2017-2022 Philippine Development Plan.

“We, in E-Net Philippines, advocates and supporters of inclusive education for learners with disabilities and most especially, the disability community-persons with disabilities and their families and careers, educators and other professional service providers, also call for ‘malasakit’ in a similar but more impassioned manner for all our learners with disabilities all over the country,” Arellano said.

“We end with an urgent plea that the bill on Instituting Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education and Establishing Inclusive Learning Resource Centers in all School Districts be a priority bill passed thru the collaborative efforts of the House of Representatives, the Philippine Senate and Advocates within the 18th Congress,” she added.