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A PWD’s contribution in Covid-19 response

Everybody has a role in the local development including persons with disabilities (PWDs) and other members of the marginalized and vulnerable sectors.

Based on Republic Act No. 7277 or the Magna Carta of Disabled Persons, PWDs should have active participation in the social and economic development of the country wherein they are encouraged to participate in the planning, organizing and managing government programs and projects.

To ensure the active participation of PWDs in local development, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Kapit-Bisig Laban sa Kahirapan – Comprehensive and Integrated Delivery of Social Services (DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS) included the PWD sector in the planning, implementation and maintenance of community projects.

Gloria Espeña, 42, a community volunteer of Barangay Amomonting in Castilla, Sorsogon, is one of the PWD volunteers under DSWD Kalahi-CIDSS’ Disaster Response Operations Procedure (DROP) modality who share her time, skills and effort to implement the community project.

Since the program shifted its mode of implementation to DROP in response to Covid-19 pandemic, the community proposed the following: 1. provision of medical supplies for the existing quarantine facility; 2. capacity building for Barangay Health Emergency Response Team (BHERT); and 3. purchase of information education campaign support amenities as a project funded by the program.

Gloria shared that the daycare center, health center and school were converted into quarantine facilities with seven, five and 10 bed capacity, respectively.

The project was based on the identified needs of the community given that the quarantine facilities need additional medical supplies and upskilling of BHERT members.

Despite Gloria’s orthopedic disability due to an accident, the volunteer openly provided assistance in the community project implementation.

“PWD man ako sa paningin ng tao, nakatulong naman ako sa komunidad at bukas ang puso’t isipan upang ang aking tungkulin ay magampanan,” she said.

She serves as the head of the Audit and Inventory Team (AIT) that gives assurance whether internal control systems are in place and are functional for the efficient and effective implementation of the project.

The team also ascertains the validity and reliability of financial reports and detects whether the funds are utilized in accordance with the program policies.

During the implementation, the volunteer observed that the program has significantly transformed the community as well as its volunteers.

“Ang mga mamamayan ay naging mapagmatyag sa proyekto at ang volunteers ay nagkaroon ng tiwala sa sarili,” she shared.

Gloria is also open to share her knowledge with others to achieve local development.

“Hindi hadlang ang kapansanan, basta’t ang abilidad ay ipamahagi sa kapwa mo at kumilos para sa pag-asenso at ikakabuti ng bayan o mundo,” she concluded. /ramsertan With report from Chris Madridano, community empowerment facilitator

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