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Health Promot Perspect. 2021;11(3): 299-306.
doi: 10.34172/hpp.2021.38
  Abstract View: 303
  PDF Download: 485

Original Article

COVID-19 and persons with disabilities in the Philippines: A policy analysis

Jacqueline Veronica Velasco 1* ORCID logo, Joseph Christian Obnial 1 ORCID logo, Adriel Pastrana 1 ORCID logo, Hillary Kay Ang 1 ORCID logo, Paulene Miriel Viacrusis 1 ORCID logo, Don Eliseo Lucero-Prisno III 2,3 ORCID logo

1 Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Santo Tomas, Sampaloc, Manila, Philippines
2 Faculty of Management and Development Studies, University of the Philippines Open University, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines
3 London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom

Abstract

Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic warrants an immediate response. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) are one of the most vulnerable populations susceptible to marginalization. While there are existing guidelines in the Philippines that aim to assist their basic needs, a call for inclusivity in policymaking for the COVID-19 response is highly advocated. This paper aims to analyze existing policy guidelines concerning the welfare of PWDs in the country based on several policy domains. Methods: Relevant documents were acquired through extensive search of government and nongovernment websites and news agencies. Literature included memorandums, circulars, and news bulletins in the period between January 2020 to May 2021. This study conducted a framework analysis on policies enacted by the Philippine government during the COVID-19 pandemic concerning PWDs. The framework was divided into eight areas: access to (1) information, (2)healthcare, (3) education, and (4) financial support, (5) protection from infection in residential settings, (6) reasonable accommodation, (7) consideration for disabled people facing multiple exclusions, and (8) inclusion to decision-making process. Results: Fifteen PWD related COVID-19 response documents from the Philippines were reviewed and analyzed. Most policies corresponded to themes related to financial support and reasonable accommodations. Most documents were limited to proposals and suggestions with only a few documents including specific details on how the program will be implemented and monitored. Conclusion: The state has proven its cognizance for PWDs; however, implementation and its impact remain to be seen. The government needs to evaluate these efforts to identify gaps and barriers. A comprehensive national database should be implemented to centralize registration of PWDs, and efforts should be made to inform and educate PWDs of their rights and of existing programs. Most importantly, PWDs should be included in the discourse and decision-making process to ensure programs are acceptable and accessible.
Keywords: COVID-19, Disabled persons, Philippines, Policy making
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Submitted: 19 Jun 2021
Revision: 06 Jul 2021
Accepted: 07 Jul 2021
ePublished: 18 Aug 2021
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