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SENATE OKS LEARNERS WITH DISABILITY BICAM REPORT

Senator Win Gatchalian hailed the Senate’s ratification of the bicameral conference committee report on a landmark measure ensuring accessible education and related services for learners with disabilities.

The bicam report on the proposed measure, titled “Instituting a Policy of Inclusion and Services for Learners with Disabilities in Support of Inclusive Education Act,” settled disagreeing provisions on Senate Bill No. 1907 and House Bill No. 8080.

“Ito ang pinakamagandang regalo natin sa mga mag-aaral na may kapansanan at kanilang mga pamilya,” Gatchalian said.

“Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang batas na ito, matitiyak nating hindi na mapagkakaitan ng edukasyon at mahahalagang mga serbisyo ang ating mga kabataan at mag-aaral na may kapansanan.”

“Sa pamamagitan ng panukalang batas na ito, matitiyak nating hindi na mapagkakaitan ng edukasyon at mahahalagang mga serbisyo ang ating mga kabataan at mag-aaral na may kapansanan,” added the co-author and sponsor of the measure.

“No learner shall be denied admission on the basis of disability.”

The measure provides that all schools, whether public or private, shall ensure equitable access to quality education to every learner with disability, such that no learner shall be denied admission on the basis of disability.

In crafting the proposed measure’s implementing rules and regulations, minimum services and conditions will be set in the admissions systems and policies of all schools.

These include the provision of assistive devices, facilities and infrastructure in the admission process, and other forms of reasonable accommodation, among others.

The bill also seeks the creation of a national network of Inclusive Learning Resource Centers of Learners with Disabilities (ILRC), which will serve as a one-stop shop for the delivery of free support services to learners with disabilities and the implementation of inclusive education programs.

The Department of Education (DepEd), in collaboration with local government units (LGUs), shall initially establish and maintain at least one ILRC in all cities and municipalities.

ILRCs may also be established in every school district based on the requirements of cities and municipalities and the availability of resources.

Each ILRC will have a multidisciplinary team, which will be composed of experts such as educational psychologists, guidance counselors, developmental pediatricians, physical therapists, speech and language therapists, special needs teachers, and other allied medical professionals.

The veteran legislator also thanked the co-authors and co-sponsors of the measure: Senators Lito Lapid, Pia Cayetano, Sonny Angara, Cynthia Villar, Joel Villanueva, Bong Revilla, Migz Zubiri, Nancy Binay, Risa Hontiveros, Bong Go, Dick Gordon, Leila de Lima, Francis Tolentino, and Koko Pimentel.

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