After receiving a “Special Apolinario Mabini Award” this afternoon at the Malacañang Palace, Senator Win Gatchalian has vowed to pursue a rigorous oversight on the implementation of the inclusive education law for learners with disabilities.
Non-government organization Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, Inc. gave the “Special Apolinario Mabini Award” to Gatchalian in recognition of his contributions in promoting the welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs).
During the 18th Congress, Gatchalian sponsored Republic Act No. 11650 or “Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act.” The law, which was signed on March 11, 2022, institutes the policy of inclusion in all public and private early and basic education schools. It provides that all schools shall ensure every learner with disability access to quality education and that no learner shall be denied admission on the basis of disability.
“Bagama’t isang tagumpay para sa atin ang pagkakaroon ng batas para sa ating mga mag-aaral na may kapansanan, isang hakbang lamang ito para maitaguyod ang kanilang kapakanan. Patuloy nating sisiyasatin ang pagpapatupad ng batas o kung naipapatupad nga ba ito upang walang mag-aaral na may kapansanan ang mapag-iiwanan,” said Gatchalian.
The law also provides that the Department of Education (DepEd), in coordination with local government units, shall initially establish and maintain at least one Inclusive Learning Resource Center for Learners with Disabilities (ILRC) in every city and municipality in the country. ILCs refer to a physical or virtual center that provides support and related services to teaching and learning. These include therapies, quality reading and writing materials, and other types of aids and services that aim to facilitate the learning process of learners with disabilities.
Gatchalian has pressed the need to increase enrollment among learners with disabilities, especially because they are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. DepEd data as of March 14, 2022 revealed that there were 126,598 learners with disabilities enrolled in DepEd schools for School Year (SY) 2021-2022, 65% lower than the 360,879 recorded for SY 2019-2020.