The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) conducted a 3-day web accessibility training from August 24 – 26 at the DOST-ICT Office in UP Diliman, Quezon City specifically aimed at increasing the awareness of the national government agencies which compose its council members.
The thirteen member of NCDA Board is composed of the following government agencies which includes the Department of Social Welfare and Development as its attached agency, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Education (DedED), Department of Health (DOH), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).
However, only representatives of DSWD, DOST, DepED, TESDA, DOTC, attached agencies of DOLE like Bureau of Workers with Special Concerns (BWSC) and Employees Compensation Commission (ECC) and DTI attended.
The web accessibility workshop was in partnership with the DOST- Information and Communications Technology Office through its Deputy Executive Director Ms. Bettina Quimson.
Ms. Angelita “Merce” Nicolas, Team Leader, Social Mobilization and Institutional Cooperation of DOST-ICTO and the concurrent chairperson of NCDA Sub-committee on ICT invited technical development team of the Integrated Government Philippines Project (i-Gov Phil) to further integrate web accessibility in the government’s Unified Web Template. She emphasized the government’s commitment in making all the information barrier free and unhampered access including those with physical disabilities.
For his part, NCDA Assistant Technical Cooperation Division Chief Dandy Victa spoke about the Philippine Disability Inclusive ICT Policies. He also reminded the concerned government agencies to fulfill their obligation of adhering to the international laws and treaties with which the Philippines signed and ratified, the highest of which is the UN – Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). According to him, the government has sponsored numerous web accessibility training and workshops since 2005. Unfortunately, very few agencies were able to comply with their commitments.
Reasonable accommodations needed by PWDs on matters of information technology were discussed on the first day of training. Ms. Carol Catacutan of ATRIEV School for the Blind lectured on the assistive technologies used by the visually impaired in accessing the web. Mr. Jojo Esposa Jr., Training Director of Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf explained about how deaf and hard-of-hearing persons use the internet while Ms. Virginia Rabino, a disability rights advocate centers on the access barriers of those with mobility impairments.
The second day focused on introduction to accessible ICT, how PWDs access the information, brief history of web accessibility initiatives in the Philippines and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines of the World Wide Web Consortium. On the third day, the Web Design Accessibility Recommendation Checkpoints of PWAG was individually discussed as well as suggested online validation tools and links. Current government websites of participants were also analyzed, evaluated and given recommendations based on the the Philippine guidelines. PWAG President Jojo Esposa Jr. conducted the training.
Leaders of participating agencies gave their respective action plans at the end of the workshop.