“I do not have a disability; I have a gift! Others may see it as a disability, but I see it as a challenge. This challenge is a gift because I have to become stronger to get around it, and smarter to figure out how to use it; others should be so lucky.” ― Shane E. Bryan
Gone are the days when persons with disabilities (PWDs) are imprisoned in their own shells because of their unseen potentials, unheard voices, and unfelt contributions to the society. With the theme, “Karapatan at Pribilehiyo ng May Kapansanan Isakatuparan at Ipaglaban”, the Department of Social Welfare and Development Field Office 1, and the Department of Health Region 1 joined the whole nation in the celebration of the 39th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week on 21 July 2017 at the City of San Fernando, La Union. The said event was participated in by more than 200 empowered PWDs all over the region.
As this year’s theme implies, the celebration aimed to promote and advocate for the realization of the PWDs’ inherent rights and privileges in order to empower them and improve their plight. “There are two purposes that we are doing right now in our celebration. One is to stimulate public awareness on the issues and problems of disability. This is our role as citizens of this Republic. Another is we encourage every citizen in the country to take active responsibility in the upliftment of the economic-social condition of all persons with disability in our society,” said Mr. Benjamin Baldo, SWO V-OPD Chief of DSWD FO1 during his opening message. Various activities were conducted such as lecture/discussion on the detection and prevention of prostate, breast and cervical cancer, and Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (Philhealth) orientation on the health programs and services the agency is offering to PWDs.
As a way to hone their talents, contests on cultural dances, waste reuse, and photography also took place. Impossible as it may seem, the deaf were able to dance gracefully in the rhythm of the music played. Also, the beautiful and useful crafts that were made and exhibited out of waste materials, and artistically taken photographs manifested that physical disability is never a hindrance to bringing out the artists in them. “We don’t regard ourselves as persons with disabilities, we are differently abled individuals who can do things in our own convenient ways,” said Flora Rafanan, Ilocos Sur Association of Persons with Disabilities (ISAPWD) President, while doing photography job as a way to document the event.
Frank Arviesta from Pangasinan, 27, expressed his joy as a first timer in the regional NDRP Week celebration as this was a great avenue for him to meet and exchange positive ideas with his fellow PWDs. At age 16, Frank loss his eyesight when a husk of palay accidentally speck his eyes. “Ti programa ti DSWD ket dakkel iti pasalamat ko ta first time ko ti dumalo iti kastoy. No man pay adda kapansananmi, saankami a naidumduma kadagiti tao nga awan ti kapansananna. Addakayo (DSWD) latta met a mangsupsuporta kadakami iso nga dakkel iti pasalamat namin sa mga programa niyo tulad nito tapno agballaygikami met ti biag, para iti masakbayanmi nga adda kapansananna (My big thanks to DSWD for conducting activities like this, it’s actually my first time. Regardless of our disabilities, we are not considered different from normal people. DSWD is always supporting us so we can live successfully, with bright future),” he said.
The Department of Health also distributed wheelchairs and canes. PWD Focal Person of DOH Helen Posilero assured DOH’s commitment to continuously support every endeavor of DSWD in ensuring the welfare and protecting the rights of every PWD, and provision of privilege and incentives such as at least 20% discount on medical and dental services including diagnostic and laboratory fees, subject to DOH guideline, in coordination with PhilHealth.
National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week is celebrated on 17-23 July 2017 under the auspices of the National Council on Disability Affairs, pursuant to Proclamation No. 1870 (1979), amended by Proclamation No. 361 (2000) and Administrative Order No. 35 (2002). (by: Janine Joy B. Altero, Social Marketing Officer, Sustainable Livelihood Program)