I am a proud daughter of a visually impaired father. Ever since I was a child, I always have a strong memory of him on how he successfully supported our education until high school and finance my personal needs while working part time to finish college.
I felt indebted, not only being a daughter to him, but because due to our circumstances, I was brought up to be responsible and self-sufficient at an early age. My father, and the rest of PWDs (persons with disability) has a place in our society, however recognizing them through labor participation have shown some significant barriers.
This is the summarized discussion based on the approved seminar paper I submitted as part of my requirements to finish the Masteral degree in Public Administration. The topic focuses on the different biopsysocial factors that affect the level of employment participation among selected Persons with Disability in Cebu City. The Biopsychosocial Model views disability from a body impairment that limits function and participation to a dynamic view that disability is a result of the interactions between the individual and social and environmental factors as proposed by the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), the World Health Organization‟s (WHO) framework for health and disability. Findings of the study show that the individual‟s body impairment coupled with the medical and social factors affect one‟s participation in the labor force.
One of United Nation‟s Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in 2015 is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger among the vulnerable sector of the society (UN, 2013). Investing on human development in terms of giving adequate health and nutrition, education and employment defines a healthy individual‟s well-being. Work is a reflection of individual‟s self-esteem and his place in the society. To have a decent work is a satisfying human development indicator. However the persons with disability are considered marginalized and vulnerable when it comes to employment. Aside from social discrimination and stereotyping, environmental factors have greatly added to the activity limitations in terms of mobility and transportation causing absenteeism and punctuality issues. These are some of the barriers experienced by PWDs in their day to day living which caused them to give up employment and become a burden to their family and society.
Despite the considerable actions and services to augment the condition of PWDs to achieve an over-all inclusive participation, there are still disparity and inadequacy. The employment participation among PWDs lags behind compared to their abled bodied counterparts. The 2000 National Population Census of the National Statistics Office, the population of persons with disabilities was 942,098, or 1.23% of the total population of 76,504,077. Of the total population of persons with disabilities, 57.12% are employed, compared to 82.3% of the general population (International Disability Rights Monitor, 2005 as cited in UN, 2007.
Significant Factors affecting Employment Participation
This part highlights the significant biopsychosocial factors affecting employment participation among PWD respondents. These factors are considered barriers in maintaining employment participation.
Body impairment has been found to be a factor in securing and retaining ones employment due to person‟s limitations in body functions and structure. Hearing impaired respondents are noted with Severe Difficulty in activity limitations because hearing loss posed a greater challenge in terms of communication. They could not get a decent occupation because knowledge in sign language among HR officers is limited and not mainstreamed. They are the vulnerable group who are prone to discrimination when it comes to recruitment.
Medical and rehabilitation services aid persons with disability in their daily activities. However there is inaccessibility in acquiring hearing aids because it is expensive. This device cannot be accommodated to an ordinary or lowly paid income HI. They might be able to get one through help from organizations or referrals from the government. Among the impairment groups, OI has the most number of unemployment. Un-employed orthopaedic have emphasized the need for a medical rehabilitation for physical hardening and therapy in order for them to increase physical capacity for work. Securing a wheelchair is difficult because it is expensive unless if it is donated by an NGO groups or the government.
Although accessibility for PWDs is acclimatized, a portion of them says they are still experiencing inaccessibility of the environment. Unemployed orthopaedics can also be attributed due to lack of convenient and safe passage ways. Difficulty and limitation stem from the lack of available ramps in the business establishments. Our roads and sidewalks are not reliable for mobility among OI as there are uncovered manholes, un-even pavements that could be a threat to their safety and security. Our present mode of transportation is not accessible and conducive for persons with disability especially those on crutches and on wheelchairs.
- To increase employment participation of the hearing impaired by mainstreaming the use of the sign language among recruitment officers in the companies and organization that would likely employ hearing impaired applicants.
- To increase employment participation of the persons with disability by strengthening the implementation of Accessibility Law to building owners, transport group and responsible government agencies.
- To increase employment participation by enhancing the accessibility and delivery of medical rehabilitation services and medical assisted devices such as hearing aids and wheelchairs among hearing and orthopedic impaired.
Although there is already a concrete law addressing the issues on inclusion and accessibility as mandated in The Republic Act No. 344 or the Accessibility Law, a policy recommendation is still helpful in institutionalizing the provision of the law in respective agencies when it comes to compliance and monitoring. The researcher strongly recommends the application of the suggested institutionalization scheme in addressing employment participation through accessibility of the environment and medical assisted devices and rehabilitation services.
Towards a common Language For Functioning, Disability and Health (2002). The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health: World Health Organization, 8-10
Jette, A. (2006). Towards a common Language for Functioning, Disability and Health. Journal of the American Physical Therapy Association and de Fysiotherapeut.
National Statistics Office (2005). Persons with Disability Comprised 1.23 Percent of the Total Population. Manila: National Statistics Office
International Disability Rights Monitor (2005) International Disability Rights Monitor (IDRM) Regional Report of the Asia 2005. Retrieved August 1, 2014
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