Manila Mayor Francisco "Isko Moreno" Domagoso is fast turning out to be the consummate local government executive – young, idealistic, decisive, and yet pragmatic.
More importantly, Moreno has shown himself to be a compassionate, socially sensitive local leader.
And Manila is also slowly, painstakingly turning into a shining, sweet-smelling capital; it is becoming a caring, sharing city.
From now on call it not only the national capital but also the seat of social inclusion, a place where anyone can work, strive, and succeed regardless of age, sex/sexual orientation/lifestyle preference, race/ethnic roots, religion, and other such classification And, yes, even people with disabilities.
In short, a land of opportunity and empowerment – if you can make it in Manila, you can make it anywhere.
Consider seniors and PWDs as a potent socio-economic force.
Retirees and PWDs are simply not a spent force – a great number of them can still hack it, even give their younger competitors a run for their money.
And Mayor Isko wants to put this still productive human resource to work.
Moreno and sand fast-food chain of stores, McDonald's have signed a memorandum of agreement hat would provide jobs to persons with disabilities and senior citizens in the city.
He said the MoA would give qualified PWDs and senior citizens priorities in terms of employment in the 40 fast-food chains of McDonald's in Manila.
"There must be an equal opportunity for senior citizens and PWDs especially who are seeking jobs)," the Manila chief executive added.
The MoA said interested senior citizens must be 60 years old and above at the time of the application; must pass physical, medical, laboratory examinations and certified "fit to work"; and must submit a barangay certification, Mayor's permit or occupational permit to be issued by the Manila Health Department and other required documents.
Meanwhile, interested PWDs must be deaf and mute; must pass physical, medical, laboratory examinations and certified "fit to work"; and must submit a barangay certification, Mayor's permit or occupational permit to be issued by the Manila Health Department and other required documents.
The MoA added the qualification for PWDs is "subject to subsequent inclusion of other differently-abled individuals", not just the deaf and mute.
One PWD and two senior citizens would be hired in every branch of McDonald's in Manila City.
Moreno urged the PWDs and senior citizens to perform their jobs well and not waste the employment opportunity the fast-food chain has given them.
A law actually mandates preferential treatment for PWDs.
Under the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, PWDs are entitled to 20-percent discount for the purchase of medicines in all drugstores, medical and dental services including diagnostic and laboratory fees, and professional fees of attending doctors.
They are also entitled to the same discount from business establishments like hotels and restaurants, admission fees on theaters and movie houses, as well as transportation fare for domestic land, air and sea travel.
Such discount was expanded under RA 10754 in 2016 which granted a 12-percent value-added tax exemption to PWDs.
However, a Philippine Institute for Development Studies 2010 survey showed that only about three in 10 PWDs in the rural areas were aware of the Magna Carta.
Because of low awareness, PWDs also have very low participation in discount privileges mainly because they do not have the PWD ID and are unable to go out.