Web accessibility initiatives in the Philippines

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Time Line

1993–2002 - UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) proclaimed the “Declaration of Asia-Pacific Decade for Disabled Persons”. Being a member, the Philippines adopted the declaration.

January 15, 1993 - Proclamation No. 125 was issued by then President Fidel Ramos giving mandate to the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (Philippines) to coordinate activities and to monitor the observance of the Asian and Pacific Decade of Disabled Persons (1993–2002) in the Philippines.

2003–2012 - UNESCAP proclaimed the extension of Declaration of Asia-Pacific Decade for Disabled Persons.

May 2002 - UNESCAP adopted the resolution “Promoting an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society for people with disabilities in the Asian and Pacific region in the twenty-first century” naming it the “Biwako Millennium Framework

May 3–7, 2003 - Interregional Seminar and Regional Demonstration Workshop on Accessible Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) to Persons with Disabilities was held at Bayview Park Hotel, Manila, Philippines where 11 countries from Asia - Pacific were represented. The Manila Accessible Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) Design Recommendations was drafted and adopted.

October 26 - 28, 2004 - First Regional Workshop on Accessible ICT for Persons with Disabilities was held in Tagaytay City. Web accessibility was introduced to 25 webmasters from different government, non-government agencies and the academe. Mr. Leo Valdes of Vision Office Support Services was the lecturer. Webmasters from the Luzon and Metro Manila areas were invited to attend.

Follow up activities were formed. These are:

1. Search for Good Practices - The National Computer Center (NCC) and NCWDP periodically review participants' websites for improvements and ideas. Model websites by participants are introduced during succeeding workshops.

2. Disabled-Friendly Website Awards - These were given to those participating websites who passed the accessibility recommendations set by NCC and NCWDP.

3. Development of Standards and Training Manuals - NCC takes a lead role in coordinating the development of technical recommendations in preparation for a national policy, and in the development of training manuals for these recommendations.

May 24 - 26, 2005 - Second Regional Workshop on Accessible ICT for PWDs was held in Marco Polo Hotel, Davao City. Mindanao webmasters and advocates attended this workshop.

June 2, 2005 - Philippine House of Representatives Official Website www.congress.gov.ph was the first recipient of “Disabled Friendly Website Award” given by NCWDP, National Computer Center, Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT), Department of Social Welfare and Development (Philippines) (DSWD) and Vision Office. Ms. Dahlia Villacorte, participant in Tagaytay City workshop, was the web designer.

October 18–20, 2005 - Third Regional Workshop on Accessible ICT for PWDs was held at Golden Peak Hotel, Cebu City. This event is aimed for Visayas webmasters and advocates.

December 12, 2005 - Second “Disabled Friendly Website Award” was given to Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of Visually Impaired (ATRIEV) www.atriev.org.ph with Ms. Lourdes Borgonia, a blind person, as web designer. She was also one of the participants during the Tagaytay City workshop.

March 18 and 25, 2006 - Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf (MCCID) developed four accessible websites for GOs and NGOs needing technical assistance and continues to do so. They also held two-Saturday seminar on Accessible ICT for deaf web designers. Mr. Ervin Reyes, deaf bronze medalist in the web design category during the 6th International Abilympics Skills Competition held in New Delhi, India was the lecturer. He is also one of the participants in the first workshop. The web sites can be viewed at MCCIDONLINE.NET

May 16–19, 2006 - Following three successful workshops organized by DSWD and NCWDP the Webmasters' Interface on Accessible ICT for PWDS held a national event in Mango Park Hotel, Cebu City. It brings together the country's webmasters, policy-makers, disability advocates and ICT practitioners to forge a vision for accessible web content.

June 2, 2006 - Remberto I. Esposa Jr. of MCCID became the first Philippine web designer accepted as a member of the UK based international Guild of Accessible Web Designers.

June 29, 2006 - Post evaluation and appreciation meeting about the Cebu activity was held at Max’s Restaurant, Quezon City. Also, the third “Disabled Friendly Website” award was given to Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf www.mccid.edu.ph with Mr. Remberto I. Esposa Jr. as the web designer. He was also the participant in the Tagaytay City workshop.

Initial discussion on the forming of “Association of Accessible Web Designers” were made.

July 27, 2006 - After the proposal presented by Esposa and Reynaldo Mendoza, former web designer of De La Salle University Website, the NCWDP board approved the recommendation of forming an adhoc or core group of webmasters that will implement the consensus made by Cebu City participants.

August 11, 2006 - First initial and informal meeting of the core group held at the NCWDP Office. It was named Philippine Web Accessibility Group (PWAG).

August 27, 2006 - After five years of negotiations, countries meeting at United Nations Headquarters in New York have agreed on a new treaty to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Paragraphs g and h of Article 9 pushing for accessible ICT for PWDs were largely based on “Manila Declaration and Manila Recommendations on Accessible ICT”, two outcome documents passed by 13 countries in the UN-funded “Interregional Workshop on Accessible ICT” hosted by the Philippines and submitted to the UN in 2003.

October 16, 2006 - The official www.pwag.org web site was launched.

December 3, 2006 - In observance of the International Day of Disabled Persons, the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons has relaunched their official web site www.ncwdp.gov.ph and was subjected for PWAG's validation.

December 17, 2006 - Additional five Philippine designed web sites were subjected to PWAG's evaluation and passed the accessibility compliance. The group also agreed on the following recommendations:

1. Access key Assignments

2. Visual Validation Checklist

January 7, 2007 - A few months after it was established, a total of 30 web developers and advocates from the Philippines and in other countries have joined PWAG.

February 14, 2007 - PWAG officially announces its Recommended Web Design Accessibility Checkpoints. The primary basis is still the adoption of the Manila ICT Design Recommendations. The term used in defining the priority checkpoints are Maturity Stage. A Maturity Stage 1 means the web site needs to meet the requirements set by the Manila ICT Design Recommendations A Maturity Stage 2 means the web site should meet the criteria set by PWAG.

February 19–23, 2007 - "Workshop on Accessible ICT" was held at Baguio City attended by both the IT personnel and focal persons from the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

February 22, 2007 - Fourth "Disabled Friendly Website Award" was given to Official Web Site of the De La Salle University (DLSU) www.dlsu.edu.ph with Mr. Lemuel Cabia as part of its web development team. DLSU participated during the Tagaytay City workshop.

February 22, 2007 - In order to encourage Filipinos to design accessible websites, five more institutions/web designers received the "Disabled Friendly Website Awards" under the initiative of PWAG. These are BLE-Department of Labor and Employment, Cebu Doctors' University, Emilio Aguinaldo Colleges, Nova Foundation for the Differently Abled and personal website of Mr. Arielle Cruz.

May 9, 2007 - Accessites.org, the website honoring web designers that "meticulously and lovingly build artful yet accessible websites", presents the First Edition Official Website of Philippine Web Accessibility Group the "Notable Universal Design Award".

July 19, 2007 - The 102 page book "Web Accessibility Guide for Filipinos" is now officially published and copyrighted. The book contains definition of web accessibility, types of assistive devices available, laws affecting disability in the Philippines, statistics of Filipino PWDs and Filipino Internet user statistics. It also details the history of web accessibility initiatives in the Philippines from 2003 up to the present.

July 20, 2007 - As an offshoot of the successful staging of Baguio City Workshop on Accessible ICT held last February, focal persons for Persons with Disabilities of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Region 1 held an "E-Accessibility Forum" last July 20 at Zigzag Hotel, San Fernando City, La Union. The activity coincides with the Philippine celebration of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (July 19–23, 2007).

May 12, 2008 - After six years of deliberation and almost a year after its signing, the Philippines became the 23rd country that ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Prayer and Walk for Unity for UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN-CRPD) Ratification was held on May 12 at SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.[1]

August 25, 2008 - The National Council on Disability Affairs approved Board Resolution No. 13 requesting the National Computer Center - CICT to deputize Philippine Web Accessibility Group to undertake web accessibility assessments of government websites.[2]

Manila Accessible ICT Design Recommendations

1. Provide an Access Instruction page for visitors (explaining the accessibility features of the Web site and providing an e-mail hyperlink for visitors to communicate problems with Web page accessibility);

2. Provide support for text browsers and descriptive hyperlinks (links such as "this" and "click here" do not alone convey the nature of the target link);

3. Attach ALT<alt> (alternative) text to graphic images so that assistive computer technology such as screen readers can reach the content;

4. For each photograph contributing meaningful content to the page, provide a "D" hyperlink to a page providing descriptive text of the image;

5. Provide text transcriptions or descriptions for all audio and video clips;

6. Provide alternative mechanisms for online forms since forms are not supported by all browsers (such as e-mail or voice/TTY phone numbers);

7. Avoid access barriers, such as the posting of documents in Adobe PDF (Portable Document Format), non-linear format, frame format or requiring visitors to download software to access the content. If posting in Adobe PDF, accessible HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) or ASCII text must also be posted by the Web master converting the document.

Visit the complete details at Manila ICT Design Recommendations

Philippine Web Accessibility Group

Philippine Web Accessibility Group Logo

Philippine Web Accessibility Group (PWAG) is a privately led association of Filipino web designers and advocates. It is supervised by the PWAG's main objectives are:

1. To educate and encourage the general public on the benefits of including accessibility on their web sites by providing information and assistance through workshops, seminars, e-groups and other forums;

2. To adopt the Manila Accessible ICT Design Recommendations and recommend the web accessibility guidelines and standards in the Philippine setting;

Links to Disabled Friendly Website of the Philippines Awardees

House of Representatives of the Republic of the Philippines
Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of Visually Impaired
Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf
De La Salle University - Manila


External links

Draft Biwako Millennium Framework
Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability
National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons
World Enable Internet Accessibility Initiative
Interregional Seminar and Regional Demonstration Workshop on Accessible ICT and Persons with Disabilities
Vision Office Limited
National Webmasters Interface News Item
Philippine Web Accessibility Group Official Web Site
Guild of Accessible Web Designers Article on PWAG
Accessites.org "Notable Universal Design Award for PWAG
Featured Article about PWAG from Accessites.org
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