Tag Archives: Magna Carta for Disabled Persons

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).

Standard label?

How could the members of the world’s largest minority be known in a variety of names?

The Philippines has officially referred to them as “disabled persons” last July 22, 1991. Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 7277 has defined them as “those suffering from restriction or different abilities, as a result of a mental, physical or sensory impairment, to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.”

Fifteen years later, though, the law that was otherwise entitled as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons was amended and Section 4 of the Republic Act No. 9442 renamed every disabled person in the country as a “person with disability.” The title of Republic Act No. 7277 was changed to the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability” and all references to “disabled persons” to “persons with disability”.

This must be the reason why Americans with a disability are labelled as “individuals with a disability”; Canadians and Vietnamese with a disability as “people with disabilities”; and Indians with a disability as “persons with disabilities.”

Moldovans with a disability are “invalid,” though—a portrayal that The Rhythmic Arts Project has claimed to “elicit unwanted sympathy, or worse, pity toward individuals with disabilities.” TRAP has further advised to use the terms person with a disability; people with disabilities; has a disability; or have disabilities instead.

If someone is using a wheelchair to move around, describe her as a “wheelchair user.” What some may classify as a “birth defect” or “affliction” is actually a “congenital disability” or “birth anomaly.”

There’s no need to describe someone as “a victim of [the physical condition]” when you can just say “has a [the physical condition]”. It could also be “has had [the physical condition]”; “experienced [the physical condition]”; or “has a disability as a result of [the physical condition].”

A “person with Down Syndrome” is different from a “Down’s person” or “Mongoloid” (the last two terms are simply derogatory). A “person who has epilepsy/people with seizure disorders or epileptic episodes” is also not the same as an “epileptic.”

Those that some in the society claim “the mentally ill,” “crazy,” “psycho,” or “mental case” should just be termed “people who have mental illness” or “person with a mental or emotional disorder.” Those it call “blind-hearing impaired,” “deaf-mute,” or “deaf and dumb” should be identified as “people who are blind,” “visually impaired,” “person who is hard of hearing,” “person who is deaf,” or “the Deaf.” Deafness is a cultural phenomenon and should be capitalized in this particular instance.

“The use of outdated language and words to describe people with disabilities (PWDs) contributes greatly to perpetuating old stereotypes.” ~ The Rhythmic Arts Project

Video taken from the website of the Disability Horizons

Mandaluyong

Likened to a tiger by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Asian Institute of Management Policy Center in 2002, Mandaluyong has been intense as well in caring for the persons with disabilities (PWDs) in the city.

It has established an office—the Disabled Persons Affairs (DPAD) —in 1998. It has issued identification cards for free in 2009. It has led the latter to possible research-based programs through its accurate registry.

Within the department is a literacy program for PWDs, children or youth. Local legislations are thought of for the sector as well as workshops. A task force is also assigned to monitor the implementation of the Accessibility Law and the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, and community-based programs are established to supports the different organizations of PWDs and caregivers.

Mandaluyong has sports and socio-cultural programs in place. It has the Mandaluyong Manpower and Development Center (MMDC), a small government institution that has become a “nationally competitive training center” to help PWDs realize their optimum potential. It has two training centers—in Barangay Hulo and in Welfareville Compound in Addition Hills—with 23 training facilitators and 26 support staff teaching casket making and carpentry.

To date, PWDs in the city have benefited from the DPAD programs. A summary of its projects and impact to the sector from 1997-2003 were recorded and four social welfare organizations have been opened even to those who are not residents of Mandaluyong. Among them are the Integrated Day Care Center, which is both for autistic and “normal” children ages 0-3 years old; the Sanctuary Center, which serves as a temporary shelter for recovered psychotics; the National Center for Mental Health and Social Service, which provides medical assistance to mentally ill patients; and the Jose Fabella Center, which serves male psychotics age 19-25 years old only.

Project TEACH (Therapy, Education and Assimilation of Children with Handicap) has been a leading initiative for children with disabilities (CWDs) here since September 2007. Its therapy center has been providing evaluation, diagnostic and regular therapy services. It would teach basic sign language to community workers and policemen so that they can communicate effectively with the deaf among them. Even the city’s private sector would help: it would cooperate with the city government to give free therapy to the CWDs.

Under the project, there would be the Mandaluyong CARES (Center for Alternative Rehabilitation and Education Services) and the Kitchen Specials (KS). They would be offering pre-vocational skills training programs to CWDs and supply public school canteens with “healthy, delicious, and affordable snacks” prepared by PWDs themselves, respectively.

But what excites me more is Mandaluyong’s initiative to share with other local government units (LGUs) the projects that have worked for the PWDs in it! Just recently, Wennah Marquez, officer-in-charge of Mandaluyong’s DPAD, trained the staff of other LGUs responsible for the disability issues in their own cities how to custom-fit wheelchairs for CWDs based on their physical constitution and nature and level of disability. Mandaluyong is not just giving them what it think they need, but is also making sure that the latter would be able to function as equals among ‘normals’!

“Expert studies show that given the same opportunities as others, children with disabilities can equally contribute to the social, cultural and economic vitality of their communities.” ~UNICEF Philippines

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Juan Miguel Ala-Tolentino