The Philippine government thru the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) committed to incorporate web accessibility features in the future releases of their website templates.
The promise was made by PCDSPO Director IV Jonathan F. Cuevas during a meeting held at their office at Malacanan Palace in Manila last May 6. He stressed that the end goal for all government websites is to be accessible to everybody including those with physical disabilities.
For his part, PWAG President Jojo Esposa introduced the web accessibility group to the government team. He also explained the recommended web accessibility guidelines that PWAG developed as well as tips on how to comply with them through its official website.
Director Cuevas reiterated the government’s focus of increase in Philippines ranking on UN ASPA in terms of e-government. He also stressed that by making the Official Journal of the Republic first conform with web accessibility standards, it will then cascade down to other websites of the government.
He points out the steps his office would like to follow which includes; setting up official meetings in Malacanan, goals will be set and will be implemented within the next few months to become compliant, and use that as a model to be used by the rest of the government’s websites.
Aside from PWAG, Sir Tony Llanes, President of ATRIEV represented the visually impaired sector. He explained about the barriers a blind person experienced in accessing websites. He also promised to assist in testing the accessibility of government website template and monitoring its compliance.
The deaf sector was represented by MCCID Deaf Coordinator Ervin Reyes. He is also a PWAG Founding member, a web accessibility trainor, a international champion in web designing and a manages a web design firm Mark 7:37 Design and Printing Services.
As regards certifying web accessibility compliance of the government website, Director Cuevas suggested that it should be the government body through the National Council on Disability Affairs that is tasked to provide the seal of accessibility and not any non-government organization. Both PWAG and ATRIEV representatives agreed with his suggestion.
Aside from Cuevas, other government members who attended the meeting include Ms. Camille Rose B. Dufourt, Project Coordinator and Mr. Pocholo Goitia, Managing Editor of the Official Gazette.