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Pose with Disability

Let me tell you something about UP Fair. It’s a nightly week-long celebration at UP Diliman, held at the Sunken Garden, on February, with concerts with a different theme every night. There was Hard rock, retro, alternative rock and other sorts of genres in between. They have all sorts of booths arranged in a semi-circle facing the stage, with food, merchandise, recreational events. Well, it’s a fair. (At least, that’s how it was in the late 90’s. I don’t know how they do it now.) Well, of course, every student would want to revel the night within the fair’s fences. Problem is it cost some pesos. However, you could get in free if in some way you’re a part of the staff of any of the booths. Our organization of brotherhood of boys had a traditional booth in the fair. One evening, in our desperation to dive into the delights, we crafted this ingenious and creative way to get inside and still save our allowances. Around ten of us went to the entrance all holding on to a long folded piece of props of cardboard, acting as if that thing was heavy as platinum. The entrance paused a bit. We gripped on to that big glorified piece of paper with plastic cover like we were having a hard time carrying it; when in reality, maybe one person could have handled that easily. Then we were let in. Once we were at a safe part of the fairgrounds, all of us released our grips, not even caring if that thing fell on the moist grass, and ran off to wherever. If I remember right, Parokya ni Edgar and Greyhoundz played that night. “Carmen Zubiaga, officer in charge of the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), expressed alarm over reports that some PWD cardholders are not qualified to have such privilege. She said they have received information that while some PWDs could not avail of the special ID, some unqualified individuals were able to avail of it through “connections.” Less value added tax in medicines and 20 percent discount in restaurant bills are among the benefits of holding a PWD ID. (Similar to the benefits afforded to senior citizens; if you’re more familiar with that.) ( What is this? PWD posers? Why on earth would someone want to be a person with disability? Come on. What is the world up to this time? Let’s try to break it down. How does one qualify anyway? You can have a PWD ID if you have Visual impairment (without a set grade that is considered to be the threshold that separates the disabled from the non-disabled.) hearing loss – (anyone who cannot hear is considered to be disabled.), orthopedic disability which includes those who have stunted growth because of dwarfism, learning disability, something that hampers or interferes with a student’s ability to learn basic concepts in math and science, psychosocial disability which includes those who have psychological and social problems, mental disability and chronic illness which includes among others, diabetes” ( Yes, maybe some card holders do not have an actual “disability”. Bud how do we define “disability”. Philippine law has defined it to be vague, so broad an inclusive that even persons with disability have become confused as to who is included in their sector. It is unclear at what level difficulty of vision or hearing becomes a disability, as long as it interferes with everyday functions, it is considered a disability. A person would be considered to be “with disability” if he/she has illness which may cause him/her to have disability. (What is this? Tom Cruise’s Minority Report?) I know someone who has undergone a surgical operation. Apparently, that’s enough for someone to have a PWD ID, so he has one. He’s well with the successful operation, but he has an ID card. Yes, an applicant has to present a medical abstract to be issued a PWD ID. But in a nation where a future President can bribe to have fake medical documents for exemption from ROTC, what do you think? Besides, a local PDAO head strongly argues that the medical abstract requirement is just a prerogative of local PDAOs and not explicitly subscribed by law. Anyone could just actually go and say he has this or that, and get a card. It’s just a matter of knowing how to get around with the law and presenting the documents. Maybe, this is what they call “connections”. On the other hand, why do persons with “actual disability” don’t have PWD ID cards? You know what amor propio is? There’s a mother who refuses to have her son considered as “visually impaired” and insists that he is “normal”; despite the fact that both of the kid’s eyes have been taken out due to cancer. There’s this father who refuses to apply for his daughter’s PWD ID card because he believes supporting for his child is his responsibility and not the government’s. There are arents who refuse to accept that their child has mental disability or psychosocial problems and argues that the child is just developing late. There’s this amputee who refuses to associate with other persons with orthopedic disability because he insists to be “normal”. That’s how it is. So, what do we do now? “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” 2 Corinthians 8:21

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