The Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and the Accessibility Law of the Philippines has clearly stated that disabled persons have the right to fully participate in the society they live in. This means that public utility vehicles, private or public buildings, streets and highways should be fit to provide services to disabled persons. Aside from this, a person with disability also has the right to obtain a driver’s license and own a private vehicle.
SECTION 26. Mobility The State promotes the mobility of disabled persons. Disabled persons shall be allowed to drive motor vehicles, subject to the rules and regulations issued by the Land Transportation Office pertinent to the nature of their disability and the appropriate adaptations or modifications made on such vehicles.
Although the Magna Carta indicates that PWDs have the right to travel, there is still significant room for improvement with regard to local infrastructure. Most public transportation vehicles such as jeepneys, buses, and vans are not equipped to transport people in wheelchairs. In addition, sidewalks can be shaped unevenly, covered with potholes or blocked by street vendors, making it difficult for those in wheelchairs to commute.
In contrast, countries like USA and UK have more PWD drivers and PWD-suited cars. They also have specific vehicle safety laws and guidelines for vehicle conversions and PWD driver testing. In UK, PWDs are even supported by the government, which provides them with transportation allowances. This subsidy can be used to lease a PWD-fit vehicle through the Motability Scheme, a national charity. Also, some car manufacturers abroad specialize in vehicle conversion.
Despite the lack of transportation options for local PWDs, those in wheelchairs can now travel, thanks to the van rental service offered by LifeLifters. Moreover, Lifelifters can customize existing vans and make these accessible to wheelchairs through two options:
A. Electric Wheelchair Lift – This option is suitable for larger vans, such as the Ford E150 or the Toyota Hiace Grandia. This is also recommended for those riding heavy electric wheelchairs, because the Ricon wheelchair lift, which is made in the USA, can carry up to 800 lbs (363 kg)
B. Manual Wheelchair Ramp – This option is suitable for smaller vans, such as the Nissan Urvan or the Hyundai Starex. This is also recommended for families with a smaller budget.
Given its rental and installation services, Lifelifters will continue to seek new ways to address the transportation needs of PWDs.