New Campaign Launches to Increase Employment for Persons with Disabilities in the Philippines

Manila, May 4, 2018 — On May 1, 2018, The Asia Foundation’s Fully Abled Nation (FAN) program, a partnership between the Australian Embassy and The Asia Foundation in the Philippines, launched a new campaign called “May 1% Ka Ba” (Do you have 1%?), a play on the May 1 Labor Day date, that aims to promote inclusive employment and raise the overall percentage of employees with disabilities in the workplace.

Participants and partners at the launch of the May 1% Ka Ba campaign.

Persons with disabilities make up approximately 15 percent of the world’s population. According to the International Labor Organization, there are 370 million persons with disabilities in the Asia-Pacific region, 238 million of whom are of working age. Their unemployment rate is usually double that of the general population and often as high as 80 percent or more.

In the Philippines, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act 7277) was amended in 2012 (Republic Act 10524) to state that “at least 1 percent of all positions in all government agencies, offices, or corporations shall be reserved for persons with disabilities.” The Act also encouraged private corporations with more than 100 employees to reserve at least 1 percent of all positions for persons with disabilities.

However, a recent study conducted by Philippine NGO, Upholding Life and Nature (ULAN), showed poor compliance with the law, primarily due to lack of awareness and knowledge and experience in working with employees with disabilities.

Working with the Unilab Foundation’s Project Inclusion, which over the last four years has placed more than 600 persons with disabilities in the workplace, the campaign is rolling out a series of videos and stories across social media channels featuring government agencies and offices that have successfully employed persons with disabilities to raise awareness of the 1 percent requirement, and to promote inclusive employment in government offices and in the private sector.

The campaign launch was attended by representatives from local media, government agencies, the Australian Embassy, Project Inclusion, and the persons with disabilities featured in the videos. The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and the Civil Service Commission (CSC) expressed their support to the campaign. “Pity is the last thing that we, persons with disability, want. What we want is an enabling environment that allows us to be who we want to be,” NCDA Director Carmen Zubiaga said in her message of support to the campaign, encouraging everyone to do away with the charity mindset when engaging with persons with disabilities.

To learn more, visit Project Inclusion’s Facebook page for updates and stories, including a launch video featuring Raphael Torralba of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) who rose through the ranks despite being a person hard of hearing. For interested government agencies or private organizations, Project Inclusion shares information on how persons with disabilities can be employed through their training and placement facility.

Fully Abled Nation (FAN) was established in 2011 as a multi-sectoral coalition with constituents from various government agencies, civil society organizations, disabled peoples’ organizations, and the private sector. In the 2013 and 2016 elections, FAN partnered with COMELEC and made elections more accessible for persons with disabilities. This year, under the Coalitions for Change (CfC) program of the Australian Embassy and The Asia Foundation Partnership in the Philippines, FAN is focused on inclusive education and inclusive employment.

The Asia Foundation is a nonprofit international development organization committed to improving lives across a dynamic and developing Asia. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, our work across the region addresses five overarching goals—strengthen governance, empower women, expand economic opportunity, increase environmental resilience, and promote regional cooperation.

Related locations: Philippines
Related topics: Coalitions for Change, Social Inclusion

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