Dato, GMA propose town SPED centers

Reps. Diosdado Macapagal Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2nd District, Pampanga) have filed a bill creating municipal special education centers in every municipality to ensure the accessibility of special education facilities for deaf-mute and blind children throughout the country.
The two congressmen have authored House Bill 3039, which aims to concretize the constitutional mandate that the State shall “promote the right of all citizens to quality education… and to make such education accessible to all.”
The Camarines Sur representative said that compared to normal children, deaf-mute and blind children have different and special needs that require careful attention and care.
Arroyo said that in the early 90s, the Congressional Commission on Education or EDCOM had already reported the inadequacy of programs and the poor access to special education (SPED) due to the limited number of schools and SPED centers in the country.
“In DECS Order No. 117, series of 1987, under Policies and Guidelines governing Special Education, it categorized and identified those persons with sensory impairment as special education clientele,” Arroyo said.
According to the younger Arroyo, the bill is timely and important as it seeks to address the problem of limited SPED facilities by establishing Municipal Special Education Centers for deaf-mute and blind children.
Under the measure, municipal special education centers shall be created in every municipality throughout the country.
These centers shall assist the Department of Education (DepEd) in providing deaf-mute and blind children special quality education and related services as well as vocational and transitional services.
It shall likewise provide these children currently in school or who recently left school programs and services to assist them in the transition to independent living, vocational training and competitive employment.
The DepEd is given the authority to give grants to or enter into cooperative arrangements for the creation of municipal special education centers.
The bill directs the Special Education Division of the DepEd to undertake continuing research to identify and design programs that meet the full range of special needs of deaf-mute and blind children.