DICT Assec and Chief of Staff Atty. Caloy Caliwara is seen here with NCDA Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga during a forum on work-from-home opportunities for PWDs. In this day and age where the Internet has efficiently shrunk the world, business processes can be done across the globe, simultaneously and without delay. Anyone with an Internet connection can work as someone else’s office assistant, distance not an issue.
Assec Caliwara stressed in his talk that the acronym PWD should mean “persons with determination” because not being mobile and yet having to move around in a wheelchair or a cane can only be done by a person who is very determined to get to where he needs to go, whether it is convenient or not. Atty Caliwara further talks about the time when he himself had suffered a stroke and was unable to speak clearly or move his own legs. Over time, the Assec has gotten better with therapy and is now able to walk and talk without difficulty. It is because of his experience with stroke, Assec Caliwara has been more aware of the need of the PWDs to find gainful employment. With the power of ICT, he believes that more PWDs can join the workforce and become productive contributors to nation-building.
However, one must also think about accessibility beyond capability but availability of the infrastructure. There are many people who have work-from-home jobs but most of them are in the urban areas where Internet connectivity is possible. In the far flung areas, broadband connection can be a luxury not afforded by the working class. The DICT has vowed to make Internet connectivity a 100% always-on utility for the Filipinos in a few years time. I believe that we will soon have all the Internet in the world as there are real efforts by this administration to bring down the cost of fast Internet, but for now, we will have to make do with what little we have.
We at PWDPhil, are praying that more and more companies turn to hiring PWDs on a work-from-home arrngement. Not only will they help bring employment to the PWD, hiring companies will also enjoy tax discounts on their corporate taxes. Many companies are still unaware that it is the law that they need to hire 1 PWD employee for every 100 employees. Many companies are still not aware of that. Perhaps when they learn about the tax breaks, they will begin to change their minds.