Tag Archives: California

In the Face of Calamities

Children with disabilities in the Philippines—there are 5.1 million of them to date—are the most vulnerable if there happen to be a calamity or an emergency in the country. They wouldn’t be able to flee; around 1.5 million need assistive devices. They wouldn’t be able to go back to school immediately and they wouldn’t be able to subsist in the sanitation conditions in evacuation centers.1

So, Dr. Renato Solidum Jr., Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction of the Department of Science and Technology, proposed to carry out continuing education and preparation on disaster management in all levels especially those in the most vulnerable groups. He encouraged developing “disaster imagination” to bring about people’s resolve to prepare for any disaster and “disaster preparedness” as a way a life for every Filipino.

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council–Office of Civil Defense also endorsed “Lahat Handa,” a training manual that promotes the rights and capacities of children, youth, older people and PWDS.

The ramifications of a typhoon, flood, or fire may linger, said Alex Ghenis of the Berkeley, California-based World Institute on Disability. These may disrupt access to caregivers, assistive devices and medical supplies. A person with a mobility impairment might be less able to escape a storm on their own while a person with a visual or hearing impairment might not receive appropriate evacuation notices. PWDs, therefore, even they have mostly been ignored in scientific literature and policy, will be the most vulnerable during calamities because of falling buildings and environmental pollution.

Good thing, someone has thought of sign language gestures for words like typhoon, storm surge and signal numbers in 2013. Some waterside villages in Tacloban have also planned to raise flags and made announcements over megaphones to alert the deaf and the visually impaired, respectively.

The PWD Forum also hopes that closed captioning will be added to television broadcasts soon. For, as of now, research director Perpi Tiongson of the Oscar M. Lopez Center in Manila has observed that the standard version of Filipino sign language isn’t required to be taught at schools for the deaf yet.

“Some of the children with disabilities wouldn’t be able to duck, cover and hold under tables, so they should identify the safest area in the room, where no debris would fall on them. If they use wheelchairs, they should fix it to ensure stability, and everyone should be informed of their buildings’ respective evacuation routes. They should also pinpoint the safe parts of a building in case of an earthquake.” ~ Dr. Renato Solidum Jr.

1This was noted by Lotta Sylwander, country representative of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), during the “Emergency Preparedness Forum for Children and Youth with Disabilities.”

2Typhoons could form if the temperature is above 280C (82.40F).

3The figure was from a report of the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Notes:

  • Among of the natural disasters that had happened in the Philippines are the Bohol earthquake, (October 15, 2013), Typhoon Bopha (December 3, 2012), Pantukan landslide (January 5, 2012), Tropical Storm Washi (December 2011), Typhoon Fengshen (June 20-23, 2008), Tropical Cyclone Durian (November 25, 2006), Guinsaugon landslide (February 17, 2006), and Tropical Depression Winnie (November 2004).
  • The Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Western Visayas headed by Melissa Banias of the Capability Building Section has trained more or less 700 individuals from the 14 vulnerable or basic sectors that were identified by the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) on the Philippine DRRM system, different kinds of natural and human-induced hazards, and DRRM applications. They are composed of volunteer groups, persons with disability, farmers, fisherfolk, rebel returnees, and Indigenous Peoples (IP), among others.
  • The Philippines is prone to earthquakes, tsunamis, typhoons, landslides, storms, cyclones, and depressions simply because it is located just above the equator, where the country faces the western Pacific waters with 280C (82.40F) temperature2. Its hillsides are denuded of forests and it rests on the so-called volcano Ring of Fire.

A lot of Filipinos live on coastal islands, too. The Super Typhoon Haiyan reached 23 feet (7 meters) upon its surge. It rolled over the low-lying parts of Leyte, causing death to more than 10,000 people3.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Edison Jared

UPDATE (October 2, 2018): On average, more than 1,000 lives are lost every year in the Philippines, with typhoons accounting for 74 percent of the fatalities, 62 percent of the total damages, and 70 percent of agricultural damages, according to the World Bank.

Source: GMA News Online

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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

Inclusive Education in Kenya

Aside from the magic its tourism board asserts, Kenya has provided for the rights and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities in the country. It has paved the way for the establishment of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities and the National Development Fund for Persons with Disabilities, fining anyone who would offend PWDs with up to twenty thousand shillings or to a year of imprisonment.

The Kenya Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 has exempted PWDs as well from paying for the recreational facilities owned or operated by the Government. Materials, articles and equipment, including motor vehicles, could also be exempted from import duty, value added tax, demurrage charges, port charges, and any other government levy if they are modified or designed for PWDs.

In the country’s courts, Kenyan PWDs do not have to pay legal fees. The latter—may they be the victim or the accused—have been entitled to free sign language interpretation, Braille services and physical guide assistance.

All television stations in Kenya shall provide for a sign language inset or sub-titles in all newscasts. All persons providing public telephone services shall install and maintain units for persons with either hearing or visual disabilities.

Kenya’s respect for the PWDs in it started as far back as 1980 when it declared the National Year for People with Disabilities. Its Ministry of Education even initiated the Educational Assessments and Resource Services to improve its services for special education students.

Four years after the Kenya Persons with Disabilities Act 2003 has been passed, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was signed. It was ratified the next year and became the basis for the National Kenyan Constitution in recognizing disability rights.

Locally, Kenya has been helped by the United Disabled Persons of Kenya (UDPK) that consists of the Kenya National Association of the Deaf, Kenya Society of the Physically Handicapped, and other organizations. It has appointed a taskforce to review the laws related to PWDs and collect the public views.

Internationally, it has five international organizations to assist PWDs: the Christian Blind Mission (CBM), the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), the Sightsavers, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems, and the Leonard Cheshire Disablity.

The CBM Kenya has been working against “blinding trachoma” and aims to eliminate the disease completely by 2019. It was funded by the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust carrying out surgeries, distributing antibiotics, educating communities, and improving environmental conditions to prevent trachoma.

The DREDF, first established in Berkeley, California in 1979, is a legal service center backing up disability rights. It has started the Disability and Media Alliance Project http://d-map.org/ to bring the disability community and the media industry together, and continues to shape the legal and policy strategies needed to promote its vision in the United States and worldwide.

The Sightsavers, on the other hand, believes that 80% of blindness in the world is avoidable. So it has helped the citizens of India, Africa, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Sudan, and Ghana with eye problems.

It has also assisted 13-year-old Flash Odiwuor even though he has another kind of ailment: polio. He was struck down with it and lost the use of both his legs. Only through the Sightsavers’ inclusive education program was he able to go back to school—at the Nyaburi Integrated Primary School, to be exact—along with other Kenyans who can see.

The IFES has more or less the same vision as the DREDF: it aims to empower the underrepresented. But unlike the DREDF that focuses on everything that entails a legal process, the IFES has provided technical assistance to election officials so that everyone can participate in the said political process.

The Leonard Cheshire has pioneered inclusive education strategies for girls with disability in Kenya. It has targeted 2,050 female PWDs in 50 primary schools in the Lake Region.

“I am so happy to be back at school. The headmaster gave me a wheelchair so I can now move around as much as I want.” ~ Flash Odiwuor

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Luke Sniewski

Pi Kappa Phi (Southern Team)

On a mission, riders and crew from Washington, Texas, New York, Ohio, California and Michigan has cycled across the United States of America to raise funding for the awareness on people with disabilities (PWDs).

They started in Long Beach, California last June 12. Then they continued towards Barstow, Pahrump, Las Vegas and Lake Havasu. After stopping in Parker, they still travelled to Wickenburg, Tempe, Dallas, Atlanta, Carolinas, Virginia, and Washington.

The men are members of the Pi Kappa Phi, a fraternity known before as Push America. They have a charitable arm—The Ability Experience—that planned the Journey of Hope. It has raised $556,000 to date to assist and work with people with disabilities.

Among the men are Pat Lynch, a sociology and mass communications major at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York; Matthew Sutter, a communications major at the University of Toledo in Ohio; James Woolridge, an industrial management major at Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana; and Stephen Bendziewicz, a biology major at Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

Aside from the Pi Kappa Phi (Southern Team), there are two other teams that are scheduled to reach Washington, D.C. on Aug. 8. The three teams will cover a total of 32 states and 12,000 miles of biking. Each of the riders will average 75 miles per day.

“If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, don’t ask what seat. Just get on.” ~ Pat Lynch

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of the Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity – PiKapp UMass