Third year batch 2010 students of MCCID attended the first Web Accessibility Forum conducted by the National Council on Disability Affairs Sub-committee on Information and Communications Technology held last July 20 at Philvolcs Auditorium in UP Diliman Campus, Quezon City.
Aside from NCDA, other cooperating agencies include the Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT) – National Computer Center (NCC), the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH). NCDA member agencies like DOH, DSWD, Philippine Information Agency, DOST and DFA also participated.
MCCID Training Director and Philippine Web Accessibility Group Current President Jojo Esposa Jr., was one of the main lecturers. He expounded on the Accessible Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and how important it is to everyone especially those who are with physical impairments. He enumerated some access barriers experienced by PWDs when they open government sites. He also introduced a few tips on how to make websites accessible.
For his part, ATRIEV Executive Director Antonio Llanes together with Project Director Rene Orense demonstrated some assistive devices used by visually impaired and those with low vision. These includes screen readers and screen magnifier softwares.
Among those who gave their inspirational messages were DOTC Senior Transport Development Officer Arch. Rizal Morales, Philippine DAISY Consortium President Lauro Purcil and NCDA TCD Chief Nelia De Jesus.
The highlight of the forum is the announcement of the official signing of NCC-NCDA Joint Circular No. 1 requiring all websites of government line agencies including their attached, regional and state universities and colleges to redesign their websites in order to pass the web accessibility design standards set by Manila ICT Design Recommendations through the Philippine Web Accessibility Group. NCC IT Officer Angelita Nicolas gave the announcement. She also informed the participants about future workshops and seminars that will be held.
Aside from MCCID, other Persons With Disabilities Non-Government Organizations also attended the forum. These includes ATRIEV, Philippine Network of Daisy Consortium and Philippine Deaf Federation (PFD). PFD President Raquel Estiller-Corpuz requested all government agencies to open their doors to PWDs especially those who don’t have funds to connect to the internet to offer their services free.
The forum’s objective is to make the participants understand the concepts of web accessibility towards a “disability-inclusive” Philippines where information accessibility for persons with disabilities is based on human rights principles. It also aims to encourages the attendees especially the government sector to make their websites compliant to web accessibility standards under the Manila ICT Design Recommendations and/or the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
The activity coincides with the country’s annual celebration of the 32nd National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (July 17-23). This year’s theme is “Sa Istrukturang Accessible, Lahat ay Able“. DPWH is this year’s lead agency.