Some Filipinos online joined the calls to make trains stations and spaces accessible to persons with disabilities through ramps and elevators.
This came following a viral photo that showed a handicapped person who was forced to walk up the stairs at LRT (Light Rail Transit) Recto station in Manila.
The Philippine STAR posted the photo on January 5. It was captured by an online user named Kevin Bola P.
The uploader who witnessed the incident said that he felt sorry for the handicapped man.
He also lamented the elevators in train stations that he noticed are not functioning.
“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,” Bola was quoted in the report as saying.
“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.
The photo circulated on Facebook Facebook and Twitter.
As of writing, the report gathered 156,000 reactions, 7,800 comments and 39,000 shares on Facebook alone.
The post eventually reached Commission on Elections Commissioner Rowena Guanzon on Twitter.
She also raised the concerns of PWDs in a tweet on January 6.
“PWD are made to suffer in the MRT and other public transportation. MRT management should resign if they can’t even get the elevators functioning for PWD, elderly, pregnant women. @dotrmrt3,” Guanzon tweeted.
PW are made to suffer in the MRT and other public transportation. MRT management should resign if they cant even get the elevators functioning for PWD, elderly, pregnant women.@dotrmrt3 https://t.co/qpW2Sf5V7i
— Rowena Guanzon (@rowena_guanzon) January 5, 2022
The commissioner also quote-retweeted an online user’s observation on PWD accessibility in public transport in the United States.
“In the US, all public buses are equipped with ramps and elevators to provide access to all PWD. Designated seats fold up so wheelchairs and electric scooters can ride inside the bus. Regular passengers have to give up these seats for PWD,” the Twitter user said.
In response, Guanzon quote-retweeted him.
“Must have these here. Government can give tax break to bus companies that will comply. And fine those who won’t @[email protected] MRT sucks,” the poll body commissioner tweeted.
— Rowena Guanzon (@rowena_guanzon) January 6, 2022
Several social media users likewise made the same call and urged the government to repair elevators and escalators in train stations.
“Please make the elevators and escalators of use. I will not believe if there [is] no budget for their maintenance. It should always be included in your fund allocations annually. Plus the cleanliness of the MRT and LRT facilities, it should also be maintained especially this time of pandemic,” one Facebook user said.
Other users lamented that some commuters use elevators and ramps more than PWDs.
“Just saying, yung mga ‘di naman disabled [diyan] nag aagawan pa sa elevator nauuna pa kesa mga PWD,” one Facebook user said.
“’Pag pinagawa na mga elevators, ipagamit na lang sana sa PWD or sa mga importanteng bagay,” another Facebook user commented.
Public transport facilities are mandated to provide structures for PWDs under the Batas Pambansa Bilang 344 or the Accessibility Law, and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.
In the Accessibility Law, it was stated that government buildings and facilities require the installation of “architectural facilities or structural features as shall reasonably enhance the mobility of disabled persons such as sidewalks, ramps, railings and the like.”