Law invoked for PWDs in BPOs
CALL CENTER Philippines is a social media-based organization made up of concerned business process outsourcing (BPO) individuals working for the welfare and interest of the BPO workers all over the country.
May we bring to the attention of concerned authorities the sad plight of our fellow call center agents who are persons with disabilities (PWDs).
Unknown to many Filipinos, many PWDs have found gainful employment in the BPO industry. For instance, PWD Antonio Baradi has worked for 10 years in a BPO company. Through hard work and determination, he now serves as operations manager in that company and continues to be a good provider for his family.
For Baradi, his status as a PWD mattered much less than his capacity, talent and skill as a BPO employee. The industry opened its doors for him, and now his story continues to inspire other PWDs seeking stable, rewarding and fulfilling employment.
Unfortunately for Baradi and fellow PWDs, the routine of going to and from BPO centers is a grind since the infrastructure to make their trip easier is not there.
We thus respectfully call on the local governments in areas with high concentration of BPO offices—like Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, Bacolod, Baguio, Cagayan de Oro, Clark, Dagupan, Davao, Tacloban, Dumaguete, Lipa, Iloilo, Naga, Iriga, Iligan, Olongapo and Urdaneta—to push for the full implementation of Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 (An Act to Enhance the Mobility of Disabled Persons by Requiring Certain Buildings, Institutions, Establishments and Public Utilities to Install Facilities and Other Devices) and other pertinent laws in order to establish a PWD-friendly environment in their areas of jurisdiction.
Unobstructed sidewalks, railings, wheelchair-accessible entrances, 1.2-meter-wide ramps and PWD exits and bathrooms will go a long way in helping improve PWDs’ productivity and mobility.
BPO companies should also be made aware of the provisions of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act No. 7277). With many businesses benefiting from the economic boost that the BPO industry provides in these cities, commercial establishments should also adhere to the laws on discounts and priority access for PWDs.
We are aware that the work of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) has been pivotal in improving the lives of Filipinos with disabilities. This is why we believe that the influence and presence of the NCDA in these “BPO hotspots” can empower many more PWDs in their pursuit of a good life.
We know that President Aquino has in his Cabinet an official who helped build the BPO industry—Interior Secretary Mar Roxas. We know Secretary Roxas will not turn his back on the 1.3 million BPO agents, more so the PWDs among us.
With 1.4 million Filipinos living with disability, the BPO industry can offer so much to those who are willing to persevere. As the industry continues to grow exponentially, more and more PWDs will now look to call centers for an opportunity to work for standard salaries.
—IMMANUEL BALINGIT, president, Call Center Philippines, [email protected]
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