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Project EASE (Ensuring Accessibility of Schools on Elections)

DepEd Memorandum 13, s. 2016

PROJECT EASE
(Ensuring Accessibility of Schools on Elections)

To:

Undersecretaries
Assistant Secretaries
Bureau and Service Directors
Regional Directors
Schools Division Superintendents
All Others Concerned

1. For the information and guidance of all concerned, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC), in partnership with the United Architects of the Philippines (UAP), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Department of Education (DepEd), shall undertake a special project entitled Project EASE (Ensuring Accessibility of Schools on Elections).

2. The Project aims to:

a. ensure that public schools used as voting centers for the 2016 elections are user-friendly for all persons particularly those persons with disabilities (PWDs);

b. conduct an accessibility audit to determine the issues that needed to be addressed regarding infrastructure. A set of recommendations for access based on the accessibility audit will be used as input to developing the accessibility plan of each school; and

c. increase participation of PWDs by ensuring their actual participation through provision of access during election day.

3. The accessibility audit team will be composed of the following agencies and organizations which have roles in conducting the accessibility audit, in preparing the recommendations for accessibility and in executing the recommendations:

a. COMELEC Election Officer (EO)
As the agency mandated to administer elections, the COMELEC will identify the voting centers/schools where the access will be implemented. The EO shall prepare data on the number of PWD voters, overall number of voters, number and location polling places in past elections, and other pertinent information to help the team decide where to locate the polling place(s) for PWD voters.

b. School Principal and/or Authorized DepEd Official of the subject voting center/school

As the administrators of the schools and as deputized agents during elections, the DepEd shall guide the accessibility audit team from the drop-off points and parking areas to facilities such as polling places, waiting areas and toilets inside the school. DepEd shall choose to implement some of the recommendations to make the school accessible.

c. Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)

The DPWH shall implement accessibility renovations on roads and buildings under its jurisdiction and shall be involved from the very beginning of the process to ensure that the recommendations are implemented. The DPWH is manned by competent professionals who can provide technical inputs to the accessibility audit and implementation of the accessibility features.

d. United Architects of the Philippines (UAP)

As the leading advocate of accessibility in public spaces, the UAP shall provide technical expertise to the accessibility audit team in terms of studying design and physical barriers, and shall provide recommendations on how to implement accessibility features in schools.

e. Local Government Units (LGUs)

The LGUs builds, maintains and renovates roads, sidewalks, buildings and facilities within its jurisdiction. The LGUs will form part of the accessibility audit team and facilitate the implementation of recommendations for access.

f. Department of Education (DepEd)

The DepEd shall:

i. permit the audit team to conduct the accessibility audit on the agreed time and schedule;

ii. sponsor an adequate room, within the school to be audited for the meeting and discussion of the audit team prior to the actual accessibility audit for planning and coordinators;

iii. guide the audit team, through its representative from the drop-off points or parking areas to the facilities inside the school which will be considered for polling places, waiting areas, and toilets during Election Day;

iv. provide the lay-out plan of the Public school buildings if available;

v. take appropriate actions based on the recommendations and findings of the accessibility audit such as, but not limited to, construction or repair of the school infrastructures; and

vi. preserve and consolidate the reports, findings, and recommendations of the audit team.

4. The Audit Accessibility Team (AAT) shall initially target 515 public schools nationwide and will start its audit on January 25, 2016 onwards.

5. In line with this, all concerned are directed to inform their respective school principals and/or school administrators of the arrival of the AAT starting January 25, 2016. They are advised to coordinate with their respective EOs and DPWH district engineers in the preparation and inspection of the schools lay out plans to facilitate the pre-audit of the schools covered by the Project EASE.

6. All DepEd Memoranda, Orders and other related issuances inconsistent herewith are deemed amended or repealed accordingly.

7. Immediate dissemination of this Memorandum is desired.

Sgd.

BR. ARMIN A. LUISTRO FSC
Secretary

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