Tag Archives: Japan

Safety first!

Filipino journalists deployed in “difficult, strife-torn, and embattled areas” might have “adequate mandatory hazard pay and commensurate insurance” once the Senate Bill 1860 is passed.

Filed by the chair of the senate committee on social justice, welfare and rural development Sen. Leila de Lima, the “Journalists’ Protection Act of 2018” would require media entities to give members of the press (a) a hazard pay equivalent to at least 25 percent of the gross monthly salary of the journalist, (b) an insurance of P350,000 for disability and up to P200,000 for hospitalization, and (c) a special insurance program for freelance journalists by Social Security System and the Government Service Insurance System.

The hazard pay shall not be subjected to tax and the death benefits amounting to 300,000 shall be given to all media practitioners and employees who will die in the line of duty.

Had this been thought of before November 23, 2009, the 34 journalists who have gone with former vice mayor Esmael Mangudadatu of Buluan1 would have been benefited. They were kidnapped and killed then, prompting the Committee to Protect Journalists2 to call what happened that day as “the single deadliest event for journalists in history.”

Or Arturo Acosta Borjal before he succumbed to lung cancer. He was just three years old when he had been struck with polio, a viral disease causing muscular paralysis and skeletal atrophy and deformity.

The son of Arsenio V. Borjal and Marta Acosta Borjal just persevered. He studied humanities and law degrees at the Ateneo de Manila University (he was the school paper’s editor-in-chief and president of the Debating Team and the Supreme Student Council before he finished Law), keeping in mind his reason for doing so: to fight for the dignity and rights of fellow Filipinos with disabilities.

AAB had principally authored Republic Act 72773 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons. He had dedicated his daily column in The Philippine Star to appeal for help for the sector and commend government and welfare organizations that assist it. He had also directed Tahanang Walang Hagdan (Home with No Stairs) and had hosted two public affairs programs of GMA7, “Issues and Answers” and “No Holds Barred.”

He had been the executive director of the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP)4, too. And the 1990s had been such a decade for him. He became the president of the City College of Manila (CCM), appointed as Sectoral Representative for the Disabled in the Eighth Congress, founded Abilympics Philippines, chairman of Gulong sa Pagsulong project, and speaker/delegate to the 16th World Congress of Rehabilitation International in Tokyo, Japan.

The first Filipino journalist ever elected as president of the Manila Overseas Club and the National Press Club, AAJ received the City Government of Manila’s 1981 Outstanding Citizen of Manila, Ateneo de Manila University’s 1961 Distinguished Leadership Awardee, Rotary Club of Manila’s 1986 Newspaperman of the Year, and Catholic Mass Media Awards’ 1986 Best Opinion Columnist. He was the director of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) at the time of his death.

“The press is considered as the fourth estate, a significant pillar of our democracy. However, journalism and reporting the news remains to be a dangerous profession.” ~ Sen. Leila de Lima

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Love KIMXI

Notes: Aside from the Senate Bill 1860, Sen. De Lima also principally authored the Senate Bill 1197 or the “Act Defining Extrajudicial Killing and Providing for its penalty.” She has conducted four hearings on this subject during her chairpersonship of the Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and delivered three privilege speeches on extrajudicial killings and fake news.

1The capital of Maguindanao since 2014, Buluan is a 4th class municipality subdivided into seven barangays.

2The Committee to Protect Journalists is a New York-based independent non-profit, non-governmental organization with correspondents around the world. It promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists, earning it the name “Journalism’s Red Cross”.

3The law, promulgated by former president Corazon Aquino in March 24, 1992, provided for the rehabilitation, self-development and self-reliance of PWDs by giving them equal access to education and employment and easier mobility in public establishments.

4It was renamed the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA).

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What Lea Sicat Reyes has said

In her column “Insight Avenue,” Lea Sicat Reyes has asked how can disability intervention in the Philippines become accessible to persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the country with limited resources and what should be done about it.

Countries like Vietnam, Togo, and India have successful programs in place that cater to children who live with visual and hearing impairments and other physical, cognitive, and behavioral disabilities,” she noted after mentioning the countries with similar context to the Philippines but have effectively addressed disability- related concerns.

“The Philippines can definitely gain valuable insights from their common practices,” she added.

So Reyes suggested pursuing partnerships between the government and civic groups that have the capacity to empower stakeholders. The Japan Social Development Fund (JSDF), for instance, has initiated a program in Vietnam that would “provide an integrated effort to teach deaf children sign language at a very young age, helping them to get ready to learn when they enter formal primary school.” It also funded a program on inclusive education for the PWDs in Malawi which “tests innovative methods to raise enrolment among children with disabilities who are not in mainstream schools and also supports the development of an inclusive education policy.”

Throughout the country, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the LAJ Philippines- LEGO funded the creation of the National Centers for Children with Disabilities in the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

Reyes noted, too, that a community-based approach where intervention is concerned is both practical and sustainable. Parents and families must then have a working understanding of their children’s intervention program. The disability-related concerns in the Global South1 should be studied more since “resources are readily available and systems are already in place to provide maximum support for children with disabilities” in the Global North2.

“We can no longer overlook the need to address the plight of children with disabilities in the Philippines. If we continue to allow these to fester, more and more children will be deprived of a chance to have a better quality of life. The time to act is now.” ~ Lea Sicat Reyes

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of unicefphilippines

1The Global South refers “Third World” (i.e., Africa, Latin America, and the developing countries in Asia), “developing countries,” “less developed countries,” and “less developed regions.”

2The Global North is home to all the members of the G8 (United States of America, Japan, Russia, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, France) and to four of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council.

On PADS-Cebu

During the 9th Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Carnival held at Pier 10 of the Central Harbour in Hong Kong, the PADS Adaptive Dragon Boat Racing Team won in the 400-meter standard boat international paradragon division. It topped during the first heat of the race at 1:35 and during the second heat at 1:33.913.

The team bested 160 other teams consisting of 4,500 athletes from all over the world to rule the event for the second year in a row. The second place went to Hong Kong’s Golden Eagle while the third place went to Taiwan’s NAAC Top Brilliances Dragon Boat Team.

It wasn’t the first time the Philippine Accessibility Disability Services (PADS) brought victory to the country in dragon boat racing. The team, which was headed by JP Ecarma Maunes, is composed of 14 men and four women that are either blind, deaf, or amputees. In June 5, 2017, it already competed in the said carnival against teams from Hong Kong, United Kingdom, and Singapore. It won in the final round by seven seconds.

Like other organizations dedicated to PWDs, PADS aims to “enable the PWD community to grow and develop as independent, integrated, fully human and empowered citizens in society” through promoting social inclusion and human rights of PWDs. It has succeeded to (1) increase the participation of the PWD in Filipino electoral and governance processes, (2) educate communities on PWD human rights, and (3) develop opportunities to promote Filipino Sign Language 12 years after it has started.

“We dedicate this victory to the plight of thousands of Filipinos with disabilities. We also want to dedicate this triumph to the Filipinos in Hong Kong who took care of the needs of the team, took a stand to leave their day jobs, and cheered side by side with the team. May this win uplift their hearts and national pride.” ~ PADS

Notes:

  1. The 9th Hong Kong International Dragon Boat Carnival happened last June 22 to 24. It was organized by the Hong Kong Tourism Board and the Hong Kong China Dragon Boat Association.
  2. The other teams include those from Australia, Canada, France, Israel, Japan, Korea, Macau and Hong Kong, Mainland China, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, and the United States.

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of MyTV Cebu

UPDATE (August 26, 2018): The Cebu-based Philippine Accessible Disability Services (Pads) Adaptive Dragonboat Racing Team have been recommended by the City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission to be this year’s recipient of the Modern Day Hero Award.

Mohamed Dalo: the crippled anime artist

It could be luck or just pure circumstance why a 21-year-old Palestinian was able to open an art exhibition in Gaza.

“You draw whatever your imagination leads you to without adhering to any specific shaping or the general appearance of the drawing. I only have my A4 drawing pad and pencils that enable me to live out my dream,” Mohamed Dalo was quoted saying in a report. He has muscular dystrophy.

Muscular dystrophy is a nutritional deficiency disease. It commonly occurs in boys during childhood and could result in an inability to walk or difficulty in breathing or swallowing. Only medications and therapy can “cure” muscular dystrophy by managing its symptoms and slowing its course.

But Mohamed Dalo was still able to “mix with people of various abilities.” “Since I was a toddler, art was a hobby that grew into a passion which knew no boundaries,” Mohamed had added.

A “daily life is a struggle for survival and progression,” however. Before Mohamed had the chance to complete his baccalaureate exams, his health and condition deteriorated to the extent that he could no longer endure a “long and tiring school day.” He left school and solely embark on a journey toward his dream.

Alone, Mohamed got inspired by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Frida Kahlo, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Al Capp, Picasso, Da Vinci, and Japanese anime artists Naoki Tate and Masashi Kishimoto. He eventually got more fascinated with anime—a style of animation developed in Japan—because, unlike other forms of art, Mohamed found anime to be without boundaries.

Gradually, Mohamed began showing his work to others; initially on social media then to friends and family. During an art exhibition at two local events in Gaza, including the “Renewing Contribution” festival at Gaza College, Mohamed’s works were displayed.

Soon afterwards, Mohamed attracted media attention. Palestinian, Iraqi and Jordanian newspapers and TV channels all vied to interview him. The only struggle he had left is not his physical disability but his living in Gaza.

“Living in Gaza is a real challenge for any individual but if you are disabled then it is an entirely different matter; the siege which limits the everyday life of every Palestinian in the Strip, also means those with disabilities are unable to get access to, or learn about, opportunities and facilities that are available for people with special needs.”

Mohamed remains hopeful, though: “I want to leave a mark in the world of art, travel and see what is out there in terms of art, especially anime, open my own exhibition where people from all over the globe can come and view my work and improve my skills through interacting and meeting artists and academics who may help me nurture this talent through further studies.”

Mohamed had his first solo exhibition in Gaza last year entitled “Anime is my Life” at the Arts and Crafts Village.

“Don’t hide or suppress your talent. Nothing is impossible. Be proud of who you are and what you contribute to society. People with disability have a vital role to play in shaping the world and influencing the attitude and perception others have of disability.” ~Mohamed Dalo

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)