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BLIND SPOT: PWD Awareness for Fairness

Yes. I was there last Sunday; walking around downtown Naga. I heard there’s going to be a job fair for employment of persons with disability. I saw a Facebook post on a local paralympics. A former teacher sent a message; asking about a color run. They really got a lot of stuff going on this month. “July is now PWD Month in Naga City. The PWD sector kicked- off on July 1, the start of the celebration of the 40th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week with a parade participated by the various PWD groups, free massage services and basic sign language tutorial, among others--this after the passage of the City Ordinance No. 2018-028 declaring the month of July as PWD month in Naga City.” ( I’m not going to assume everyone’s aware of NDPR which is celebrated by virtue of Proclamation No. 1870 (1979), as amended by Proclamation No. 361 (2000) and Administrative Order No. 35 (2002), every July 17 to 23, that aims primarily to stimulate public awareness on the issues and problems of disability, thereby encouraging every citizen of the country to take active responsibility in the upliftment of the economic and social conditions of PWDs of our society. Furthermore, it aims To serve as the vehicle of information for programs being implemented by government agencies and organizations of and for persons with disabilities that adhere to the promotion of the inherent rights and concerns of persons with disabilities; to generate full media support on the celebration and other disability-related issues and concerns that affect persons with disabilities and their families; and To develop and strengthen cooperation and partnership between and among the various sectors of the Philippine society for better understanding of disability issues and concerns. Okay. I allotted a lot of space for that so you don’t think we’re not just making a random celebration. Despite its aim of awareness since the close of the 70’s, and amendments two decades later, I would come to know of its observance, well after three decades of existence. Maybe I had just been too indifferent or there had or have been some problems with the ‘awareness’ part of the past celebrations. And now, Naga decides to elevate from a week to a month, locally. So, in the spirit of stimulating “public awareness on the issues and problems of disability”, let’s get this on. On an international perspective, “most commonly reported impairments are those that affect mobility, lifting or carrying. ( If we’re going to consider Naga City SPED Center as an unofficial microcosm of the PWD community, the bulk of the population are persons with autism, followed by persons with intellectual disability. (These are our brothers and sisters who used to be referred to as mentally retarded which is a term I’m only using for the sake of those who are intellectually unaware.) “For some parents, just trying to comprehend the disparity between their desires for their child and the disability that exists compounds their emotional and intellectual efforts to adjust to the situation. They may feel grief, depression, or shame. Some may also ask questions of “why me” and conclude that they are being punished for sins or bad acts of the past.” ( In local context, this denial manifests in rejection of medical assistance, domestic confinement, abuse, educational misplacement and just simple, plain indifference. “Assessment in educational settings serves to screen children and identify those who may be experiencing delays or learning problems, to determine whether a child has a disability and is eligible for special education services, and to diagnose the specific nature of the student’s problems or disability”, among others. ( Well, I got some news for you; this type of assessment is hard to come by in our part of the nation; and that translates to misplacement; which means that that unusual unruly or poorly performing child, or misunderstood neighbor or officemate could very well be in need of a PWD ID card. A few months ago, “Vice President Leni Robredo explained her silence on controversial issues facing the administration on Thursday, declaring that she would rather “keep my peace” and pick her battles than to hear detractors accuse her of itching to replace President Rodrigo Duterte.” ( ) Just look at what has happened or has been happening to Senator Leila de Lima, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, So just as a disadvantaged sector of society pushes for awareness and acceptance, the top of the crop indirectly encourages feigning unawareness and denial. Let’s celebrate PWD Month. “Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.” Romans 14:1

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