Tag Archives: blindness

Disability in Filipino women

For one school of thought, women with disabilities face “double discrimination” because of their gender and disability. Another see it as a “triple discrimination” since women with disabilities also have to live in poverty as a result of inequality in hiring, promotion rates and pay for equal work.

In the Philippines, in particular, women with disabilities are more likely to be institutionalized. They experience difficulty in attaining access to adequate housing, health, education, vocational training and employment. There were conventions—the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the General Assembly resolution 63/150 of 18 December 2008, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to name a few—that ensure their rights and urges states to pay special attention to their needs but it hadn’t been enough.

Among of the disabilities common in Filipino women are poliomyelitis, blindness, and deafness.

Poliomyelitis—or simply polio—is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It can lead to paralysis and debilitate a person’s brain and spinal cord. It didn’t dishearten Gracia Cielo “Grace” Magno Padaca, though. She has become the governor of Isabela since 2004 and has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 2008.

A lack of vision brought about by a severe reaction to over-the-counter medications affected the eyesight of Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog when she was six years old. Despite her blindness, Roselle graduated with the highest honors from the Holy Infant Montessori in 1986, Batino Elementary School in 1993, Ramon Magsaysay High School-Manila in 1997, and Ateneo de Manila University in 2001. She is currently an access technology specialist working for software and hardware companies in Europe and North America while here in the Philippines.

Deafness is the complete inability to hear sound. Its only method of treatment is a hearing aid, a device worn in the ear that amplifies the volume of sound electronically. It’s what had afflicted Ana Kristina Arce when she was born, a class valedictorian at the Philippine School for the Deaf, a magna cum laude at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (CSB), and a degree holder at the Gallaudet University. She is currently the graphic artist in CSB.

Also deaf, Gilda Nakahara uses pen, paper, and the Filipino Sign Language to run the Nakahara Lodging and Travel Agency, a travel and tour business primarily for deaf people around the world. She has been recognized at the Go Negosyo Caravan for People with Disabilities in De Salle –College of St. Benilde in 2007 and has helped establish a deaf organization in  Eastern Samar.

“Everyone experiences disabilities one way or another; mine is just more obvious than yours. We are all fortunate to have loved ones, who help us bear the burdens brought about by our weaknesses. We may find ourselves in the dark, but we should not be afraid to move forward, because we have the light of our stars to count on, and to be thankful for.” ~ Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Osmosis

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Molly Burke

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Howcast

Disability in Filipino men

Among of the disabilities common in Filipino men are poliomyelitis, stroke, Freeman Sheldon Syndrome, blindness, chronic osteomyelitis, and deafness.

Poliomyelitis, or polio, is a disease that could cripple a person. Its virus (called the poliovirus) can spread from person to person and invade the infected person’s brain and spinal cord. It was what had afflicted Rico Marquez, a Leyte native who was still able to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology at the Baptist Theological College in Cebu. He was also still able to finish master degrees in Divinity and Educational Leadership at the Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California then founded a church for the Filipinos in Pinole. He had a wife and two children.

Stroke, on the other hand, is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients is either blocked by a clot or bursts (or ruptures). It was what had caused paralysis in Fernando Kabigting’s right hand. It was also what had blinded the left eye of the painter. He just struggled to continue painting with his left hand using watercolor and had solo exhibitions at the United Nations in New York City, the Ayala Museum in Makati, and at the Italia Gallery in Bacolod.

A condition that primarily impinges on the face, hands, and feet, Freeman Sheldon Syndrome is the disorder that Raymond Martin had been born with. His unusually small mouth (microstomia) did not stop him to win gold medals, though, during the London 2012 Paralympic Games where he was recognized as the Sportsman of the Year.

Otherwise known as visual impairment, blindness refers to a lack of vision. It can be partial, which means a very limited vision; or complete, which means not being able to see anything, even light. People in third-world nations usually have poor vision and this was what Ronnel del Rio had been afflicted with. Despite his physical limitation, though, Ronnel still became a “voice of reason and awareness,” heading the Philippine Chamber of Massage Industry for Visually Impaired, the Federation of Disabled Persons in Lipa, and the PWD advocacy group Punlaka once. He also became involved with the Philippine Coalition on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Philippine Mental Health Association, and the Housing and Homesite Regulatory Affairs Office in Batangas. He has had a Master’s degree on Management Technology in De La Salle University in 2003.

Osteomyelitis is the infection of the bone and the bone marrow. It may be subdivided into acute, subacute, and—what power lifter and swimmer and mountain climber Arnold Balais is in—chronic stages. This phase did not deter him in competing for the Paralympics, ASEAN Paralympics, and the Malaysian Paralympiad, though.

Not being able to hear partially or completely has still led Romalito “Rome” Mallari to win the Best New Actor in a Movie during the 2010 Star Award for Movies. He was also nominated for a Golden Screen Award for his roles in Ganap na Babae and Dinig Sana Kita. Most recently, he was involved in the 2015 film Taklub, which was screened and well received at the Cannes Film Festival.

“Have faith that you have the potential, the capacity to succeed. God will give you strength to finish and accomplish your dreams.” ~ Rico Marquez

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of khanacademymedicine

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of HealthSketch

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of dimedcom

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Amal Vision

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Dr. Najeeb Lectures

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Jessica Le

On Technology

Last year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities focused on the role of technology in (1) disaster risk reduction and emergency responses, (2) creating enabling working environments, and (3) disability-inclusive sustainable development goals. Persons with disabilities (PWDs) can benefit from it, the secretary general of the United Nations believed, only that ‘too many lack access to these essential tools.’

The special rapporteur on the rights of PWDs and the special envoy of the secretary-general on Disability and Accessibility even congratulated the organization’s member states ‘for promising advances in a post-2015 development agenda which is sustainable, inclusive and accessible.’ The 151 member states have been ensuring the realization of Article 11 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) as well as the commitment of the special representative of the secretary-general on Disaster Risk Reduction; Japan; and the Nippon Foundation.

There really is no doubt that adaptive, assistive and inclusive technology can let PWDs ‘make the most of their potential in their communities and in the workplace.’ All of them can increase, maintain, and improve the functional capabilities of PWDs.

But 80% of the PWDs are in third-world countries. They have not much money to spend for food, more so for an electronic device that could help them do the most basic of things. Nothing else could alleviate this fact except for more understanding on climate change and special education for all.

PWDs have a higher prevalence of mortality during disaster situations—up to 2 to 4 times—compared to non-PWDs ‘due to inaccessible evacuation, response (including shelters, camps, and food distribution), and recovery efforts.’ Simply using mass transit, reusing a grocery sack, eating nutritiously, and unplugging electronic devices that are not in use can assuage the impacts of climate change.

Prevention is better than cure, too. And there’s no other way through it but an increased awareness only special education to everybody could bring. Each of the illness leading to disability has been caused by a factor or two. It would be wise to understand why it has been so. Moreover, all of us either are or will become disabled during the course of our lives. How technology can be accessed affordably should be thought of as well as how to solve climate change and how to provide special education to all.

“On this day in which we remind ourselves of the situation of persons with disabilities around the globe, it is important, first of all, to resist the temptation to think in terms of ‘us’ and ‘them’. Instead we must remind ourselves that disability is part of the human condition: all of us either are or will become disabled to one degree or another during the course of our lives.” ~WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan’s message on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2014 (IDPD, 2014)