Freedom Walk 2015 of PWDs

June 28, 2015

CPAP parade
CPAP parade

To strengthen public support for a barrier-free society for persons with disabilities, a Freedom Walk of Persons with Disabilities was held at the Cuneta Astrodome in Pasay City recently under the joint auspices of the Alyansa ng Mga Maykapansanang Pinoy (AKAP-Pinoy) and the City Government of Pasay with the latter as the host this year.

The celebration adopts the theme “Every Step We Take, Barriers We Break,” which calls for elimination of unnecessary obstacles in attaining the goals of a barrier-free society for persons with disabilities.

Some 1,500 participants joined the walk composed of persons with disabilities, representatives from the national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units (LGUs) of the National Capital Region, leaders and members of the disabled people’s organizations groups, civil society groups and the private sector.

The parade around the vicinity of the Cuneta Astrodome was followed by a program with Mayor Calixto, Congresswoman Emi Calixto-Rubiano of Pasay City and Deputy Executive Director Mateo A. Lee, Jr. of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), delivering inspirational messages.

Director Lee gives his inspirational message
Director Lee gives his inspirational message

Director Lee expressed his appreciation to various government agencies and LGUs for providing programs and livelihood opportunities for PWDs. In particular, he thanked the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) for including families with PWDs as beneficiaries of their poverty alleviation programs, such as the Conditional Cash Transfer Program (CCT) and Sustainable Livelihood Program (SLP).

He also acknowledged the efforts of some business establishments like SM Supermalls in ensuring their mall facilities to be PWD-friendly. “Let us hope that more establishments, both government and private as well, will abide to the Accessibility Law known as Batas Pambansa Bilang 344 and will take into consideration the creation of a PWD-friendly environment which is of international standards,” he said. The Batas Pambansa Blg.344 requires that certain buildings, institutions, establishments and public utilities to install facilities and other devices to enhance the mobility of PWDs.

group of persons with disabilities attentively listening prior to distribution of wheelchairs
group of persons with disabilities attentively listening prior to distribution of wheelchairs

Also on that day, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) has set-up a satellite voters’ validation for those bonafide PWDs residents of Manila, Pasay, Parañaque, Makati and Las Piñas who joined the “Walk.”

PWD-residents of Pasay City avail of the voter’s validation of the COMELEC during the Freedom Walk.
PWD-residents of Pasay City avail of the voter’s validation of the COMELEC during the Freedom Walk.

Other participating entities include representations of the Departments of Transportation and Communications, Environment and Natural Resources, Social Welfare and Development, Interior and Local Government, Philippine Information Agency (PIA), Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), Philippine Air Force Marching Band, COMELEC, NCDA, Philippine Association of Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities (PACDLD), New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), The Asia Foundation-Fully Abled Nation, Physicians for Peace, Philippine School for the Deaf, Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Cerebral Palsied Association of the Philippines (CPAP), and the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation, of the Disabled (PFRD). ###

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DOJ, NCDA HOLD SEMINAR-WORKSHOP ON ACCESS TO JUSTICE FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES IN BICOL REGION

June 24, 2015

Group photo of seminar participants on access to justice  for persons with disabilities -Bicol Region
Group photo of seminar participants on access to justice for persons with disabilities -Bicol Region

The Department of Justice (DOJ), in close coordination with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) recently held a “Disability Awareness Seminar and Sensitivity Workshop on Access to Justice for Persons with Disabilities” on June 3-4, 2015 at Villa Caceres Hotel, Naga City.

Fifty six (56) prosecutors and lawyers from Region 5 of the National Prosecution Service (NPS) and Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) participated in the said Seminar-Workshop, which is now the fourth of the series. The first three (3) were held in Quezon City (National Capital Region), Cebu City (Region 7), and Davao City (Region 11).

Camarines Sur Provincial Prosecutor Atty. Richard Cu in his welcome remarks during the opening ceremony reported that this Seminar-Workshop is an offshoot of DOJ’s chairmanship of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week in 2013 and part of its commitment as chair of the NCDA’s Sub-Committee on Access to Justice and Anti-Discrimination.

Attorney Cu also mentioned that the DOJ launched a “Sensitivity Training Manual for Prosecutors and Public Attorneys” which envisioned anchoring its succeeding activities to address
various concerns of persons with disabilities in the justice system.

Atty. Richard Cu expressing DOJ's support to persons with disabilities
Atty. Richard Cu expressing DOJ's support to persons with disabilities

Further, Atty. Cu reported that DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima issued a Memorandum Circular directing the NPS and PAO to put up assistance desks for persons with disabilities in all prosecution offices and halls of justice.

NCDA Acting Executive Director Carmen Reyes-Zubiaga, meanwhile discussed “Disability Perspective: Understanding the Dynamics of Persons with Disabilities” which include among others disability classification, and general principles of disability inclusive development based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Director Carmen Zubiaga giving an overview of disability concerns
Director Carmen Zubiaga giving an overview of disability concerns

Director Zubiaga also discussed salient provisions of Proclamation No. 688 “Declaring the Period of 2013-2022 as the Philippine Decade of ‘Make the Right Real’ for Persons with Disabilities in support of the 3rd Asian and Pacific Decade of Persons with Disabilities”.

Director Zubiaga also pointed out how a handicapping environment can exclude and discriminate persons with disabilities from being productive members of society. On a personal level, she also shared how she triumphantly overcome her difficulties as a person with disability and proved to be an asset to her employer. And finally, she enjoined everyone to defy stereotyping persons with disabilities having limited capabilities.

The other speakers who discussed the nature and dynamics as well as the accommodations for specific disability groups to access justice include (a) Dr. Fe A. delos Reyes, Executive Director of HELP Learning Center Foundation, Inc. on “Assisting Persons with Learning and Cognitive Impairment”; (b) Mr. Felix Chavez II, Rehabilitation Specialist of Resource Center for the Blind on “Assisting Persons with Visual Impairment”; (c) Prof. Janice S. Cambri, Founder of Transforming Communities for Inclusion of Persons witih Psychosocial Disabilities Philippines, and Mr. Jose Antonio delos Reyes, Program Officer of HELP Learning Center Foundation, Inc. on “Assisting Persons with Psychosocial Disabilities”; (d) Ms. Fe B. Carranza, Owner/Proprietor of FABCARR Food Products on “ Assisting Persons with Mobility Disabilities”; and (e) Ms. Alma Guia A. Guiruela, Director of Aljeron’s Center for Psychosocial and Educational Center on “Assisting Persons who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing.”

Serving as highlight of the two-day Seminar-Workshop, the participants passed a resolution of support for the creation of an environment of equality and non-discriminatory in adherence to Article 13 (Access to Justice) of the UNCRPD.

Through the said Resolution, the participants also encouraged the DOJ to further collaborate and coordinate with the judiciary and other concerned agencies such as the law enforcement agencies, the DSWD, NCDA and the community in the implementation of the said commitment.

In closing, NCDA Deputy Executive Director Mateo A. Lee, Jr. expressed appreciation to the participants for their active participation as well as their outputs and insights, which he finds very useful in the succeeding conduct of the activity.

Deputy Executive Director Mateo A. Lee, Jr. thanked the participants for their outputs and sharing their insights in the 2-day seminar-workshop
Deputy Executive Director Mateo A. Lee, Jr. thanked the participants for their outputs and sharing their insights in the 2-day seminar-workshop

This same Seminar-Workshop will also be conducted in Bacolod City on July 28-29, Cagayan de Oro on September 22-23, and Pampanga on November 24-25 this year.

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