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A-TraMS: Empowering Accessibility for Persons With Disability

By: Mary Ann Bungaoen and Jhian Christian Aranas


In Las Piñas City, the mobility of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) had long been hindered by the absence of accessible transportation. Tricycles, jeepneys, and buses remained largely inaccessible in both urban and rural areas, barring the PWD community from accessing essential services like education, healthcare, and employment. This challenge became even more pronounced during disasters, where evacuation became a daunting task.

Pinnovation Academy, a project being implemented by the Center for Disaster Preparedness, called for innovation proposals for community-led innovations on Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation. Among the applicants that were chosen was the Las Piñas Persons with Disabilities Foundation, Inc. (LPPDFI) which proposed a remarkable solution that caters to the PDWs' mobility challenge: The Accessible Trike (A-Trike).

Initially designed to modify existing E-trikes for PWDs, the project underwent significant pivots. This evolution resulted in the birth of the Accessible Transportation Mobile Service (A-TraMS) for Persons with Mobility Concerns.

The successful implementation of A-TraMS marked a remarkable shift. PWDs now have regular access to affordable, safe, and accessible mode of transport, allowing them to reach health centers, hospitals, and schools with ease. Anafe Maravillas, the chairperson of LPPWDFI, shared her experience of feeling safe and secure inside A-TraMS, highlighting the vehicles stability and safety measures.

“I felt safe upon being wheeled through inside the A-TrAMS, even with just one person pushing the wheelchair using the ramp. It was sturdy, nothing to worry about. WhileInside the vehicle, the wheelchair was safely locked through the wheel lock attached to the floor. And a strap was put in place across my body down to the floor. While the vehicle was in motion, my wheelchair remained safely in place with no rocking motion. I don’t have fear when the driver abruptly or accidentally steps on the brakes or suddenly stops or misses a hump” Maravillas said.

The partnership between the local government unit and the PWD community was instrumental in implementing the A-TraMS. The cooperative approach paved the way for the community organization to advocate for broader support and recognition of this innovative solution.

With A-TraMS in operation, PWDs became more visible and active in society. This not only facilitated access to vital services but also provided a platform to raise awareness about disability issues and the pervasive barriers hindering their full participation.

This amazing innovation not only transformed mobility for PWDs but also became a catalyst for more inclusive community planning and support for the rights of individuals with disabilities. Empowered by the community organization’s successes during the Pinnovation Academy’s Phase 1 project implementation, the organization now embarks on an advocacy journey in Pinnovation Academy Phase 2.

The Las Piñas Persons With Disability Federation Inc. (LPPWDFI) now seeks to increase support from the local government and expansion of A-TraMS within the city. It likewise focuses on influencing the national government agencies and other stakeholders regarding accessible public transportation for persons with disabilities. LPPWDFI lobby efforts are aimed at increasing awareness and support for the replication of A- TraMS and for the provision of franchise that will make A-TraMS a public transportation.

The community organization successfully lobbied for the inclusion of A-TraMS in the City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan which was already in place. It continues to lobby before, and coordinate with, the City Council of Las Piñas City for the passage of a Resolution to formally adopt A-TrAMS thereby mandating every Barangay Local Government Unit (BLGU) to likewise include A-TrAMS in their respective Barangay Disaster Risk Reduction Management Plan. Lastly, the organization will produce a written Process Manual that will encapsulate the journey and processes involved in the implementation of A-TraMS.

“The officers and members of the Las Piñas Persons With Disability Federation Inc. (LPPWDFI) are resolute and steadfast in making ways to continue its advocacy. We will continue to advance PWDs welfare and our rights for accessible public transportation, to ensure PWDs full and active participation in community affairs. We will consistently work for the inclusion of PWDs in all levels of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation for a safe, resilient and developed community,” Anafe Maravillas concluded.


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