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Romblon celebrates National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week

A father walks alongside his daughter in a parade at downtown Romblon in celebration of the NDPR week.

A father walks alongside his daughter in a parade at downtown Romblon in celebration of the NDPR week.

Romblon, Romblon – Festive in pink.  Like flowers sprouting at the break of spring, Persons with Disability beneficiaries together with their relatives and representatives from various PWD sectors of Romblon, Romblon wore pink and paraded along downtown streets of their municipality in celebration of the 35th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation week, July 17, 2013.

Holding signboards high above their heads, members of the PWDs voiced out their right to mandated laws protecting their interest. Freedom from derogatory comments, neglect and any form of abuse marked placards that they brandished in the entirety of the parade.

The NDPR week was a whole day celebration conducted by the LGU, DSWD and all concerned stakeholders. Part of the itinerary was the consultation dialogue between government agencies, LGUs, concerned stakeholders and PWD beneficiaries in the implementation of RA 9442 or “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability”.

Breaking the silence

Purification Arriola, Head Protective Services Unit , DSWD IV-MIMAROPA,  actively urged households to report to their respective municipality any member who has a disability. “Yung culture of silence na meron tayong mga Pilipino ang minsan nagiging dahilan para hindi natin bigyan ng kaukulang pansin yung kapamilya natin na may kapansanan,” said Arriola.

She emphasized how most households are bounded by the fear of being subjected to ridicule had their community learned that one of their family members is a PWD. She further added that some families would rather keep their silence on the condition of their member to avoid neighborhood gossips.

In the end, Arriola assured that RA 9442 encompasses sanctions given to any person who is verbally and/or physically abusing a PWD. “Huwag po tayong matakot, may kaukulang batas at parusa sa mga taong mangugutya sa mga kababayan natin na may kapansanan,” she added.

Shared support

The consultation-dialogue intensified as one of the stakeholders brought to table the 1% share from the total municipal budget for senior citizens’ and PWDs development programs. This concern was directed to the proper division of budget. Each party do not have the same developmental programs, and the PWD sector has relatively more number of projects therefore needing a higher budget. Marc Arthur Silverio, representative of town Mayor Gerard Montojo, addressed the issue saying both parties could come into concensus. They can hold a meeting and compromise as to the division of budget.

Silverio emphasized how the 1% share had been properly utilized since its implementation in 2009. He enumerated the programs to which the share was allocated such as, educational assistance for PWDs, issuance of ID for discounts, financial, medical and burial assistance.

Game face on

The celebration was punctuated with parlor games prepared for PWD attendees. Players proved how any form of disability do not hinder ones capacity to win. Every single one of the attendees participated in egg relay, stop-dance, paper dance and trip to Jerusalem. Fancy prizes were at stake. Having participated the game, Ilyn Ismael, a handicapped, said smiling “nagsaya ako ng husto hindi ko na-feel na natalo ako”.

PWD beneficiaries enjoying the all-too-famous Trip to Jerusalem parlor game.

PWD beneficiaries enjoying the all-too-famous Trip to Jerusalem parlor game.

As if befitting to the theme “Building an Inclusive and Non-Handicapping Environment for PWDs”, Jerry Masaulong, a PWD beneficiary, sang the lyrics to the song Pusong Bato which perfectly described the feeling of PWDs towards societal discriminatory behavior. Although it spoke of love and heartbreak, the emotional equivalent of pain and embarrassment a PWD feels by each derogatory word said to any one of them is evident.

In the end, the participants were all awarded with prizes such as canned goods, school supplies and grocery items. The LGU also took the time to distribute cash grants to the beneficiaries of Special Education Program for children with autism.

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