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How to change society’s perception of PWDs

By Rosalita Manlangit


DAET, Camarines Norte --- Individuals with disabilities possess a wide range of talents and abilities that they can contribute to society. By highlighting their positive qualities, we can help change the way society views people with disabilities (PWDs).


Keeping this in mind, Camarines Norte Disability Affairs Officer Rex Bernardo has taken steps to ensure that PWDs are included in the 20th Bantayog Festival, which is scheduled to take place on April 18.


Bernardo announced that PWDs will participate in the Bantayog PWD Got Talent, which is one of the main competitions in the festival.


Bernardo believes that including PWDs in official events for the Bantayog Festival is a crucial step towards empowering them.


Luzviminda Mascariña, a 42-year-old single mother of two from Mercedes town, is joining the competition to motivate her fellow PWDs to showcase their talents.


She believes that she and her fellow PWDs are capable of doing what a normal person does.


Mascariña has a psychosocial disability caused by epilepsy. She was one of the eight PWDs who hurdled the “PWDs Got Talent” audition on April 12 and will compete in the final competition on April 18.


After winning an award in the previous edition of PWDs Got Talent, Mascariña was hired as a dance instructor in local schools. This job has been helping her support her children until now.


Meanwhile, Ramil Vicente, Mascariñas’ townmate, displayed his singing talent during the audition.


He joined the contest because of the encouragement of his two children and his wife. They want him to showcase his talent to the public. Vicente is a polio victim.


“I joined the contest because of the encouragement of my two


children and my wife. They want me to show my talent to the public,” Vicente, a polio victim, said.


The prizes for the competition include: P10,000 for the champion; P7,000 for the first runner-up; P5,000 for the second runner-up; P3,000 for the third runner-up; P2,000 for the fourth runner-up; and P1,000 each for the 6th-8th places.


Bernardo said that the PWDS’ inclusion in the official events of the Bantayog Festival is the right approach to empowering PWDs.


“It also provides a chance to prove their positive contribution to the premier festival of the province,” Bernardo added.


The Provincial Disability Affairs Office will also recognize four exceptional PWDs in Camarines Norte who have excelled in their respective fields and have served as role models to other PWDs and the community.


The four outstanding PWDs are Ailene Villania, who is the municipal disability affairs officer (MDAO) of the municipality of Basud for the community leadership category; Henry Bustamante, who is the chairman of the Camarines Norte Multipurpose Cooperative for entrepreneurship; Princess Necy Aborde, who is a Special Education teacher for academe; and Jessa Mae Braga, who is the MDAO of Mercedes for youth leadership.


Each of the four exceptional PWDs will receive a cash prize of P5,000 and a plaque of recognition.


This recognition of the four PWDs is part of the commemoration of the 104th founding anniversary of Camarines Norte, which will be celebrated through the 20th Bantayog Festival from April 12 to May 10, 2024. (PIA5/Camarines Norte)


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