Provincial Government of Camarines Norte
Best Practice Focus Area/s
Strategy, Citizens / Customers, Human Resource
This is a GBPR entry
The Make the Right Real Program (MRRP) is a six-year development program (2016-2022) of the Provincial Government of Camarines Norte for their constituents classified as persons with disabilities. The said program is fully anchored on the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), of which the Philippines is a signatory. It provides a paradigm shift in looking at disability wherein PWDs are not viewed as “objects” of charity, medical treatment, and social protection; rather, they are “subjects” with rights who are capable of claiming those rights and making decisions for their lives based on their free and informed consent as well as being active members of society.
Background and Problem
Republic Act RA 10070, enacted in 2009, provided for the creation of a PDAO in every province, city, and municipality or the designation of a focal person who shall perform the functions of a PDAO in fourth, fifth, and sixth-class municipalities.
The creation of PDAO was seen as a game changer for the empowerment of the sector at the local level. However, the UP Public Administration Research and Extension Foundation (UPPAF) study in 2018 found that only six of every ten local government units had PDAOs as validated by the Department of the Interior and Local Government’s (DILG’s) own profiling data. More than half of the provinces (58%) and higher-income municipalities (63%) are non-compliant with RA 10070.
In the province of Camarines Norte, only the capital town of Daet out of the total twelve (12) municipalities had an existing PDAO in 2016, which was established in 2013. However, a ray of hope shone on the PWD sector in 2014 when the Provincial Board enacted ordinance No. 20-2014, establishing the Camarines Norte PDAO and creating a permanent division head, a PDAO officer, and appropriating funds for its operation. Consequently, a PDAO building was constructed, and the governor appointed a qualified multi-awarded person with disability to the position, which started operation in July 2015. The creation of the functional PDAO fully compliant with R.A. 10070 was a first in the Provincial-level PDAO in the country, considering that Camarines Norte was only classified as a second-class province based on its income. The establishment and institutionalization of the PDAO also served as a catalyst for disability-inclusive development in the province as it spearheads the efforts to craft a comprehensive provincial plan of action for persons with disabilities.
Solution and Impact
The MRRP for PWDs identifies the following five key elements of a “rights-based approach” as an innovation in the processes used in implementing the elements of its programs that intersect very naturally with the new vision outlined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and all applicable Philippine laws pertaining to rights and privileges of PWDs:
- A clear link to human rights – linking disability issues to the full range of civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights.
- Accountability – a rights-based approach that identifies both the rights-holders (the people claiming rights) and the duty-holders (those responsible for protecting and promoting the enjoyment of the rights in question).
- Empowerment – a rights-based approach that focuses on the empowerment of rights-holders: empowerment is the polar opposite of a charitable approach, where recipients of charity are passive and have no say in whatever action is taken on their behalf.
- Participation – a rights-based approach that requires the full participation of all relevant stakeholders. The government must consult with PWDs and their representative organizations in decision-making processes that affect the lives of PWDs.
- Non-discrimination – a rights-based approach that calls for specific attention to issues like discrimination, equality, equity, and persons who have been particularly marginalized.
The following are the participatory processes and mechanisms used to engage different stakeholders in implementing programs and services for PWDs:
- Issuance of Provincial Executive Order No. 2016-01: “Creation of a Technical Working Group to draft and formulate an Annual and Decade Work and Financial Plan supporting Presidential Proclamation No. 688 declaring the period of 2013-2022 as the Philippine Decade of “Make the Right Real” for PWDs.” Consequently, the TWG—which represented all departments and offices under the Provincial Government—crafted the Provincial Plan of Action (PPA) for PWDs titled “Make the Right Real Program for PWDs.” This holistic approach to formulating the PPA ensures that the participating entities of the provincial government can claim ownership of the strategies they have committed to the various program and service delivery mechanisms.
- Active partnership with different stakeholders in promoting the aims and goals of MRRP for PWDs through the following mechanisms:
- Regular conduct of the quarterly meetings of the Provincial Council on Disability Affairs (PCDA), whose membership consists of different stakeholders. PCDA was created by Executive Order No.2012-08.
- MOA signing with the Camarines Norte State College (CNSC), the province’s largest tertiary school, to assist in implementing inclusive education on its five campuses in five different municipalities. The comprehensiveness and reach of the partnership goals means more and more PWDs will be given free and quality education in the near future.
- Technical assistance and leadership training were provided or facilitated in organizing various municipal PWD associations and Disabled Peoples’ Organizations (DPOs), ensuring their effective participation in the decision-making at the municipal level.
The Provincial Government has earned the following recognitions for its disability-inclusive policies:
- The Seal of Good Local Governance (SGLG) awards given by the DILG for four (4) consecutive years (2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019), and part of its strong performance to the ever-changing and continuously upgraded metrics or the criteria is the solid contribution of its disability-inclusive policies under the criteria of social protection:
- Compliance with the Accessibility Law: ramps with handrails at the entrance/exit, special elevator as applicable, and wheelchair-accessible toilets with grab bars in the provincial capital and main provincial hospital
- Establishment of PDAO
- Apolinario Mabini Award for the Provincial Government Category was conferred by the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled (PFRD) in December 2018 at the Club Filipino. The Mabini Awards honor individuals, groups, and agencies who have made outstanding contributions to the development of the PWD sector.
- The Provincial Government was recognized by the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office V and the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) for effectively delivering programs and services to the persons with disabilities sector, having established a functional PDAO in its governance structure. Camarines Norte is the only provincial government in the Bicol Region accorded such recognition. The awarding was held last 17 July 2019 at the Albay Astrodome in Legazpi City as the main event of the 41st National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week celebrated last July 17-23, 2019.
- The Camarines Norte PWD Knowledge Resource and Tech4ED Center was named one of the ten finalists under the Emerging Category in the search for Outstanding Tech4Ed Center during the 2019 National Tech4ed Awards held at the Garden Orchids Hotel, Zamboanga City, last 12 November 2019.