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PWDs, seniors push for nat’l ID

/ 12:09 AM July 26, 2016

PEOPLE with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens are pushing for a national ID system to enable the government to determine their exact numbers for a more appropriate and sufficient delivery of services, including better disaster response and management.

This was the consensus reached during the 2nd Disaster Resilience Conference for PWDs and senior citizens organized by the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) and SM Cares, the corporate social responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings at the SMX Convention Center of the Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

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Clarita Carlos, University of the Philippines professor and a disaster management expert, said there was a need to finally put up a national ID system so all Filipinos would be properly documented.

“In a national ID system, once a baby is born, he is given a number and all his or her details are placed in that single number. The government will be able to know immediately if he is eligible to vote, what his status and once he or she becomes a senior citizen,” Carlos said.

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She said it was about time the government seriously considered and implemented the system because of the conflicting data on PWDs and senior citizens available in many government agencies vis-à-vis international groups and nongovernment organizations.

“Take for example the number of senior citizens based on record provided by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). The PSA estimates the number of elderly at 5.4 million but the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) puts the number at 7 million. We at UP put the number at 5.6 million. There is a big difference,” Carlos said.

Noli Agcaoili, of PWD group Akap Pinoy, said the same was true with the numbers given to PWDs. He said the PSA placed the number of PWDs in the country at 1.5 million but the United Nations estimated it to be between 12 to 15 percent of the population or 12 to 15 million Filipinos.

Carlos said that knowing the exact number of PWDs and senior citizens was crucial to the delivery of services to them.

“We need to provide a unified and exact number because government response would depend on how many are involved. It cannot be more or inadequate especially in times of disasters and emergencies,” Carlos said.

During the conference, more than 1,000 PWDs and senior citizens were taught basic survival tips during times of emergencies. Their caregivers were also given some pointers on how to assist their wards during disasters.

Forum speakers Emerson Carlos, chair of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority, and Ted Esguerra, operational medicine instructor of the International Disaster Response Network, discussed how people should prepare themselves in the face of possible earthquakes, including standard protocols for a community.

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TAGS: Nation, national ID system, news, People with Disabilities, senior citizens
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