Closure looms with non-compliant bldgs.

Buildings built for public use risk closure until owners can comply with the mandate of the Accessibility Law.

The law mandates, old buildings for public access need to put up these access measures, while new buildings would not be issued permits without access features incorporated in the build.

Since there is an up swing in construction and building activities in Bohol following the release of government’s Bohol Earthquake Assistance Funds (BEA), the Provincial Accessibility Monitoring Team (PAMT) here intends to make these new structures complaint to the provisions of Batas Pambansa 344 and in turn help Bohol attain a barrier-free tourism status.

BP 344 or the Accessibility Law aims to enhance the mobility of disabled persons by requiring certain buildings, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities and other devices like ramps, handrails and ample spaces to allow the entry and access of wheel chair bound persons, those with crutches, canes and other PWD mobility aids.

And in attempt to make tourist destinations in Bohol a barrier-free for persons with disability (PWDs) like Cebu, the movement to get tourism establishments complaint is now a provincial priority by the PAMT.

PAMT, an inter-agency team composed of city, provincial and municipal engineers, the Department of Public Works and Highways, provincial and municipal Planning officers, engineers, Department of Education, Interior and Local Government, architects, civil engineers, commerce sector and PWD sectors conducts accessibility audits and picks out non compliance for immediate rectification by project implementors.

According to the PAMT, it may not be long before an ordinance along this line is set for implementation Bohol.

The ordinance, which adopts a barrier-free design and standard towards a barrier-free environment for the benefit of the mobility-impaired, persons with shirt stature, elderly, pregnant women and children, is now being reviewed prior to its first reading, Provincial Social Welfare Development Officer and PAMT Secretariat head Carmelita Tecson reported

And even before the ordinance could be formalized, the PAMT has started its accessibility audits in public buildings in Catigbi-an, Corella, Antequera, San Isidro, Tubigon.

Next in line would be the new Provincial Capitol and newly constructed municipal halls across the province, PAMT said.

What are inspected for compliance?

According to a checklist provided by the National Council for Disability Affairs, accessibility audits would deal on access ramps which must be below 1:12 slope gradient with non-skid flooring finish with international access signage, 1.2 meters wide, with handrails on both sides with .9 and .7 meters in height and with .30 meters extensions at the start and end of handrails.

Also to be inspected are the provision of 3.7 meter by 5 meter PWD parking lot located closest to the building entrance with a 1.2 meter walkway with curbs and elevated walkways, washrooms and toilets for PWD with 1.7 x 1.8 meter dimension as it allows easy passage of wheelchair, a wider door .8 meters swing-out, movable and fixed grab bars, tilted mirrors, lever type faucets, lavatory with .6 to .8 meters high, non skid flooring and proper signage.

The team also audits entrances, corridors, lobbies for sufficient door widths, 1.2 meter minimum width corridors, turn-about, non skid flooring and with directional signage.

Also up for inspection are stairs that should have slanted nosing, anti-slip treads contrasting with nosing and hand rails.

According to the accessibility law, violations to this can be penalties of P50, 000.00 but not over P100,000,00 or  six months imprisonment, or both at the discretion of the court. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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