This is a press release from Project Inclusion Network
Over 100 members from the public, private, non-profit, and civil society organization (CSO) sectors convened to witness the launch of the Philippine Business and Disability Network (PBDN) on Tuesday, January 28 at Chardonnay by Astoria.
PBDN is a platform, for and by businesses, that works towards more inclusive and barrier-free workplaces for Persons with Disability (PWDs). It envisions a Philippines where PWDs can actively participate in, and productively contribute within their communities.
Organized by Project Inclusion Network (PIN), with the support of Unilab Foundation and Humanity and Inclusion, the launch gathered and encouraged representatives from various sectors in the country to join and support the network.
Executive Director of Project Inclusion Network Grant Javier emphasized the importance of collective effort from different sectors in responding to issues on disability employment.
“The issue of disability employment is not just a labor market issue, but rather a socio-economic issue that touches on recognition, representation, inaccessible infrastructure, and lack of opportunities in education and vocational preparation,” Javier said.
Why join PBDN?
The network desires to give more opportunities for PWDs, aiming to be the leading voice of businesses in disability inclusion issues, particularly through promoting learning, and deepening involvement campaigns and corporate citizenship programs.
Miggy Bautista, a PWD and co-founder of AccessiWheels shared his story on how people showing support gave him a push to achieve success.
“I am here today, a college graduate, and the co-founder of a PWD transportation start-up, because I am privileged and lucky enough to have the support of a whole community,” Bautista said.
Meanwhile, President and Trustee of Project Inclusion Network Rex Bernardo emphasized the power of collaboration between various sectors in addressing disability issues.
“We believe that the power of shared purpose, combined knowledge and experience, and strong partnerships play a key role in maximizing the potentials of PWDs,” Bernardo said.
PBDN is a member of the International Labor Organization Global Business and Disability Network (ILO GBDN), that facilitates the exchange of knowledge about disability inclusion in workplaces through global, regional and national meetings, working groups, and joint publications and tools.
Member companies will play a part in the five emerging focus areas of the network namely: sharing best practices, contributing to literature, developing resources, conducting awareness campaigns, and connecting to civil society.
Disability and Inclusion Officer of ILO-GBDN, Jürgen Menze said that by becoming a member of the network, companies can gain more confidence in dealing with PWD inclusion by adopting good practices from different private and public sectors.
Who can join PBDN?
PBDN is open to all companies interested in advocating and engaging with CSOs for disability-inclusive employment. The network also calls on any private sector company interested to commit to the ten principles presented in the ILO-GBDN’s Charter.
The Charter is a self-assessment tool that helps companies in identifying areas for improvement in its efforts to become more PWD inclusive.
“The inclusion process and the program is two-way. We are not just giving them jobs - we are actually giving them lives with dignity and, in return, they are giving us a chance to learn kindness, empathy, and humility,” Jen Lagasca, Human Resource Manager on Diversity and Inclusion of Asurion said.