Last Wednesday, 28 Nov 2018, the Department of Tourism (DOT) accredited at least 13 deaf tour guides after they completed the DOT-mandated seven-day training program in March.
DOT assigned the tour guides to lead 30 students from the Philippine School for the Deaf (PSD) in a non-handicapped educational tour around Manila’s heritage spots. The tour included a trip to Fort Santiago, Rizal Park, and the National Museum.
Tour guides knowledgeable in sign language are helpful in establishing a more inclusive travel environment for persons with disabilities (PWDs), said Tourism Secretary Bernadette Romulo-Puyat in a statement.
Initiated by the Office of Industry Manpower Development (DOT-OIMD) in partnership with the De La Salle College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB), the accreditation of deaf tour guides also pushes for the sustainable growth and development of our tourism industry. Aside from allowing an inclusive tourism environment for deaf tourists, the effort has also created more opportunities in the industry for PWDs.
According to Republic Act No. 7277, also known as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the state is to “develop (the PWDs’) skills and potentials to enable them to compete favorably for available opportunities.”
Earlier this year, DOT had already communicated their plans to push for a barrier-free travel experience for PWDs. According to DOT-OIMD Director Nelly Nita Dillera, the department is focused on empowering PWDs through policies, programs, and partnerships with both private and public sectors.