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Persons with disabilities (PWDs) benefited from the rise of remote work over the pandemic, according to ATRIEV (Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired), an organization that helps PWDs find tech-oriented jobs. 

In this B-Side episode, BusinessWorld reporter Justine Irish D. Tabile talks to ATRIEV executive director Antonio D. Llanes, Jr., and ATRIEV chief of operations Carolina C. Catacutan-Sam about the impact of online jobs on the stigma faced by PWDs in the job market.  

“Persons with disabilities are not asking for special treatment, what we want is accommodation that is reasonable,” said Ms. Catacutan-Sam, who is totally blind. 

TAKEAWAYS 

Technology is an equalizer. 

“During the level of recruitment and going through the hiring processes, we are already looked down upon. They don’t see our potentials; they just look at our disabilities and not our abilities,” said Mr. Llanes. 

Pandemic-induced lockdowns and the subsequent boom in work-from-home setups were beneficial to PWDs, who used to have to contend with the lack of accessible transportation. 

“Going to a job or to an office is hard for people with disabilities,” he said. “If it is online, it would be a lesser problem, except for the accessibility of the platform that they are using to do the job.”  

“Now that we have jobs online … it’s an equalizing factor,” added Ms. Catacutan-Sam. “It’s really something that the government and private institutions may very well look into. If they can offer online jobs to persons with disabilities, it would really be a great help for us.” 

‘We can do what most people can do—but in a different way.’

“What we request is the opportunity to be ourselves and the right to be different. We are persons, first and foremost. And the disability—it’s just a condition. And because of that disability, we can do what most people can do—but in a different way,” said Ms. Catacutan-Sam.

 

Recorded remotely in November 2022. Produced by Joseph Emmanuel L. Garcia and Sam L. Marcelo.