The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

17 December 2020

ASP Statement on the Proposed MMDA Ordinance

The Autism Society Philippines received a draft for a new Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) Ordinance, “Prohibition Against Parking At Spots Designated for Persons with Disabilities, and Imposing Fines and Penalties Thereof” for our comments. 


We applaud the efforts of the MMDA to prioritize the welfare of PWDs with orthopedic disabilities. The salient points of the proposed ordinance includes:
1) Vehicles without MMDA issued PWD stickers/IDs/Cartag, shall not be allowed to park at spaces designated for persons with disabilities;
2) Only drivers who have (with) orthopedic disabilities (and difficulty walking) shall be allowed to park at designated PWD parking spaces.
3) Violators need to pay fines.
The need for better user discipline of PWD parking is evident; however, the Autism Society Philippines opines that the proposed MMDA ordinance to limit PWD parking privileges to those with orthopedic disabilities is NOT supported by RA 7277, RA 9442 and BP 344. We DO NOT agree with the exclusion of persons on the autism spectrum from any of the benefits allowed by law. 

This is the same legal logic why, some years back, we did not agree with a local drugstore that refused to provide discounts to PWDs with intellectual and learning disabilities, multiple disabilities, and chronic illness -- for the sole reason the at their personnel cannot visually verify the disability. This private company policy made some PDAO's classify applicants on the spectrum, getting a new PWD ID, under "psycho-social disabilities" -- all to circumvent the discount exclusion.

Identifying a subset of PWDs as the ONLY group who can avail of the benefits outlined in the law is a dangerous PRECEDENT. Very often Filipinos with non-apparent disabilities are the first to be negatively impacted. Public agencies and private companies must NOT be allowed to selectively implement benefits outlined in the Magna Carta of Persons with Disabilities -- until relevant laws are repealed by Congress to provide context and make the distinction. 

For the record, many families who live with autism already give way to PWDs or temporarily injured individuals with mobility issues, in the use of PWD parking spaces, as a basic courtesy. Families who may have a dire need for the quick ingress or egress of a child on the spectrum to and from a venue should NOT be penalized for using the benefit.

The position of the Autism Society Philippines has been forwarded to the National Council on Disability Affairs for inclusion in the disability sector feedback. For further comments, please send an email to ncda.action.center@gmail.com



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