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DICT-MC-004-2017-PRESCRIBING-THE-PHILIPPINES-WEB-ACCESSIBILITY-POLICY-AND-ADOPTING-FOR-THIS-PURPOSE-ISO-IEC-405002012-INFORMATION-TECHNOLOGY-W3C-WEB-CONTENT-ACCESSIBILITY-GUIDELINES-WCAG-2.0

REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION
AND COMMUNICATIONS
TECHNOLOGY

12 May 2017

MEMORANDUM CIRCULAR NO. 2017 -04

TO: ALL HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS, BUREAUS, OFFICES AND OTHER AGENCIES OF THE NATIONAL GOVERNMENT, INCLUDING CONSTITUTIONAL COMMISSIONS, CONGRESS, THE JUDICIARY, OFFICE OF THE OMBUDSMAN, STATE UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES, GOVERNMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS, GOVERNMENT-OWNED OR -CONTROLLED CORPORATIONS, LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNITS AND ALL OTHERS CONCERNED

SUBJECT: PRESCRIBING THE PHILIPPINE WEB ACCESSIBILITY POLICY AND ADOPTING FOR THIS PURPOSE ISO/IEC 40500:2012 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY – W3C WEB CONTENT ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES (WCAG) 2.0 AS THE PHILIPPINE STANDARD FOR MAKING WEB CONTENT MORE ACCESSIBLE TO A WIDER RANGE OF PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

SECTION 1. BACKGROUND AND RATIONALE

1.1 Section 2(k) of Republic Act No. 10844 (R.A. 10844) declared as a policy of the state to empower, through the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the disadvantaged segments of the population, including persons with disabilities.

Section 6(1)(a) of R.A. 10844 provided the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) the power to formulate, recommend and implement national policies, plans, programs and guidelines that will promote the development and use of ICT with due consideration to the advantages of convergence and emerging technologies.

1.3 The then Information and Communications Technology Office (ICTO) issued on 27 April 2015 Memorandum Circular No. 2015-001 prescribing the rules and regulations on migrating to the government web hosting service in compliance with Administrative Order No. 39 (A.O. 39) series of 2013.

1.4 Section 31 of R.A. 10924 (the General Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2017) required all agencies of the government to formulate plans, programs and projects intended to address the concerns also of persons with disability, insofar as it relates to the agencies mandated functions and integrate the same in its regular activities.

1.5 Section 2(a) of Republic Act No. 7277 (Magna Carta for Disabled Persons), as amended, declared as a policy of the state that disabled persons are part of the Philippine society and shall be given full support for the improvement of their total well-being and their integration into the mainstream of society.

1.6 Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) enjoins all state parties to take appropriate measures to ensure the equal access of persons with disabilities to the same physical environment, transportation, ICT and systems, and other facilities and services open or provided to the public.

1.7 Goal 3 of the lncheon Strategy affirms the access to the physical environment, public transportation, knowledge, and ICT as a precondition for persons with disabilities to fulfill their rights in an
inclusive society.

1.8 The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) underscores the role of accessibility and inclusion in attaining the universal development agenda, specifically Goal 4 on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promoting life-long learning; Goal 8 on promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; Goal 10 on reducing inequality within and among countries; and Goal 11 on making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

SECTION 2. PURPOSE

This Circular is being issued to prescribe the Philippine Government policy on web accessibility and accessible ICT practices that will enable persons with disabilities to access government programs, products and services offered online through the websites.

SECTION 3. COVERAGE

3.1 This Circular shall cover all Departments, Bureaus, Offices and Other Agencies of the National Government, including Constitutional Commissions, Congress, the Judiciary, Office of the Ombudsman, State Universities and Colleges, Government Financial Institutions, Government-Owned or -Controlled Corporations and Local Government Units.

3.2 The implementation of this Circular shall also cover private entities that will participate as web service providers.

SECTION 4. DEFINITION OF TERMS

4.1 Accessible ICT Practices

Measures that remove access barriers that restrict business and social interactions between persons with disabilities and non-disabled persons. It also refers to practices that remove age-related barriers to participation in society, and reduce language and literacy-related barriers in society. Accessible ICT practices apply to programs, products and services in various areas, such as education, employment, transportation, telecommunications and other forms of infrastructure. For the web, accessible ICT practices include internationally accepted practices, such as voluntary International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accessibility practices in information technology and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

4.2 Government Web Hosting Service (GWHS)
It is an ICT infrastructure that hosts the websites of government agencies in compliance to A.O. 39, series 2013, which is now managed by the DICT.

4.3 Persons with Disability (PWD)
As defined in Section 5.1 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations of R.A. 9442 which amended R.A. 7277, a PWD is defined as a person suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in a manner or within the range considered normal for human being. Disability shall mean (1) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more psychological, physiological or anatomical function of an individual or activities of such individual; (2) a record of such an
impairment; or (3) being regarded as having such an impairment.

SECTION 5. WEB ACCESSIBILITY POLICY

5.1 It is hereby declared the policy of the government to make Philippine government website content more accessible to users, especially by persons with disabilities.

5.2 The ISO/IEC 40500:2012 Information Technology -W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 is hereby adopted as the Philippine standard for making web content more accessible and usable to users.

SECTION 6. THE W3C WEB CONTENT ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES (WCAG} 2.0

The WCAG 2.0 has twelve (12) guidelines that are organized under the four (4) principles of: (1) Perceivable; (2) Operable; (3) Understandable; and (4) Robust.

6.1 Principle 1: Perceivable

Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive.

Guideline 1.1 Text Alternatives:
Provide text alternatives for any non-text content so that it can be changed into other forms people need, such as large print, Braille, speech, symbols or simpler language.

Guideline 1.2 Time-based Media:
Provide alternatives for time-based media.

Guideline 1.3 Adaptable:
Create content that can be presented in different ways (for example simpler layout) without losing information or structure.

Guideline 1.4 Distinguishable:
Make it easier for users to see and hear content including separating foreground from background.

6.2 Principle 2: Operable

User interface components and navigation must be operable.

Guideline 2.1 Keyboard Accessible:
Make all functionality available from a keyboard.

Guideline 2.2 Enough Time:
Provide users enough time to read and use content.

Guideline 2.3 Seizures:
Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures.

Guideline 2.4

Navigable:
Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are.

6.3 Principle 3: Understandable

Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.

Guideline 3.1 Readable:
Make text content readable and understandable.

Guideline 3.2 Predictable:
Make Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways.

Guideline 3.3 Input Assistance:
Help users avoid and correct mistakes.

6.4 Principle 4: Robust
Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

Guideline 4.1
Compatible:
Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies.

6.5 The DICT shall provide a training program for government website developers on how these 4 principles and 12 guidelines can be complied with.

SECTION 7. PLANNING AND IMPLEMENTATION

Government agencies are required to plan and determine their readiness to undergo WCAG 2.0 transition and implementation. A systematic assessment of their existing website and the current skills and knowledge of their website developers to apply WCAG 2.0 are needed. In the course of website management, accessible ICT practices shall be integrated all throughout.

All costs to be incurred in the implementation of this web accessibility policy by government agencies shall be included in their respective annual appropriations.

SECTION 8. ACCESSIBLE INFORMATION

Government agencies shall deliver all information in accessible format, such as e-forms, machine-readable documents for the visually-impaired, images with descriptive text and all downloadable PDF files. This shall also include closed captioning and sign language interpretation for audio-video broadcast, e-Learning and instructional materials, as well as video relay service.

SECTION 9. INFORMATION, ADVOCACY AND CAPACITY BUILDING

As far as practicable, government agencies shall undertake sustained information and advocacy programs in various mass media to promote accessible ICT practices.

SECTION 10. MONITORING AND EVALUATION

The DICT, together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development through the National Council on Disability Affairs, shall create a Technical Working Group to identify and/or develop a standard validating tool and to monitor and evaluate the conformance of government websites to WCAG 2.0.

SECTION 11. TRANSITORY PROVISION

All government agencies with existing websites that do not conform to WCAG 2.0 are given two (2) years from the effectivity of this Circular to become compliant.

SECTION 12. SEPARABILITY CLAUSE

If any section or part of this Circular is held unconstitutional or invalid, the other sections or provisions not otherwise affected shall remain in full force and effect.

SECTION 13. REPEALING CLAUSE

All other Circulars and Issuances or parts thereof that are inconsistent with this Circular are hereby repealed or modified accordingly.

SECTION 14. EFFECTIVITY

This Circular shall take effect immediately upon filing three (3) certified true copies with the Office of the National Administrative Register, University of the Philippines Law Center and publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

APPROVED.

RODOLFO A. SALALIMA
Secretary

DICT Building, C.P. Garcia Avenue,
Diliman, Quezon City, 1101, Philippines
+63 (02) 920-0101 www.dict.gov.ph