O elected government of São Paulo decided to extinguish the Secretariat for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will be relegated to a coordinator of the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship. The measure provoked the first protest against the management of Tarcísio de Freitas (Republicans)nine days before taking office.
Dozens of people gathered to protest against the agency’s extinction this Friday morning (23), on Rua Boa Vista, in the center of the capital, in front of the building that Tarcísio’s transition team uses for meetings. With posters and shouts of order, protesters asked for a secretariat that includes people with disabilities.
The Political Movement of People with Disabilities, which organized the act, released a note of repudiation against the end of the secretariat. The group says it will mobilize to block the measure and emphasizes that the body could not be extinguished by decree, since it was created by law —the extinction would need to be approved by the Alesp (Legislative Assembly of São Paulo).
“This means a true setback in dealing with issues related to this segment of the population that lacks public policies and respect for their rights”, says the note. “We are sure that the noble state deputies of Alesp will not agree with such a measure and will maintain this secretariat, which is so important and emblematic for people with disabilities across the country.”
The Secretariat for the Rights of People with Disabilities was created in 2008, in the second year of the José Serra government (PSDB). The agency plans and executes projects in the areas of education, accessibility in buildings, employability, health, sports, culture and rights for people with physical and intellectual disabilities.
Among the partnerships with other sectors of the state government are, for example, services for the disabled in the Lucy Montoro Network, Libras (Brazilian sign language) courses, the Paralympic Training Center, adapted gyms and projects for accessibility to public spaces.
For attorney Cid Torquato, former municipal secretary for Persons with Disabilities in São Paulo, the decision is a clear gesture that policies for this population should be of secondary importance to the elected government. “It is a relevant change that will harm the performance of this area”, says Torquato, highlighting the negative impacts on the budget for programs and on the approval of policies in this sector.
“It’s not trivial to have a secretariat, where there’s a person with a leading role as secretary, sitting at the table with the others and, after that, becoming a coordinator. As much as they want to say that everything will remain the same, it’s obvious that it won’t “, he adds.
The protest has already provoked a reaction from the elected government, which promised to meet with interlocutors of the movement.
“The governor [eleito] scheduled his government’s first meeting on the 2nd, at 10 am, with this group of representatives of people with disabilities. They will be the first to be heard,” said the transition coordinator for the São Paulo government, Guilherme Afif Domingos.
Sought, the elected government said, in a note, that “the entire structure of the Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities will be maintained and no public policy in progress will be discontinued”. According to Tarcísio’s team, the approved budget will also be fully allocated to the area.
“The only change is in the fact that the figure of the secretary responsible for this agenda will be the secretary of Justice and Citizenship. The agenda will always have the full attention of Governor Tarcísio de Freitas, who has already announced the future coordinator responsible for the theme”, says the note. The coordinator will be lawyer Marcos da Costa, former president of the OAB in São Paulo