I was called the mascot at an event and it isn't a wonder why because I have issues that truly fits the concern. It was a moving experience attending the first bloggers' night of Councilor Alfred Vargas' PWD PWeDe website launch at Cafe Mondial in Silver City, Pasig last Thursday with blogger friends. I've met him a few months back as our keynote speaker in the QC District Secondary Schools Press Conference. Awed at his manner of speech and passion to make a difference, I have been wanting to witness him give a speech again in another occasion. Fortunately, last Thursday was the launch of his website to fully harness opportunities to help Persons With Disabilities in the Philippines.
It was his experience with his grandmother that taunted him of the realities of PWD. With legs amputated, the accessibility options limited for his grandmother to avail of a normal life showed him the world of PWD that few and more of our local officials neglect. It is indeed costly and expensive to help the PWD because the wheelchairs should not just be generic. It has to fit the needs of the patient and it has to be the right size otherwise it'll be uncomfortable and may cause more health problems. A few years back when he was backpacking abroad, he carried the memories wherever he went and slowly decided how he can best pursue the flame of helping PWD. He promised himself that if he ever wins as a councilor in District II Quezon City, he will push to take the first steps to this vocation.
He was even more aware of the issues and concerns of PWD with 2011 Mabini awardee Architect Rizal Morales of DOTC who also shared to him the efforts of KAMPI (Kapisanan ng mga May Kapansanan sa Pilipinas), NCDA (National Council on Disability Affairs) and AKAP-PINOY (Alyansa ng May Kapansanang Pinoy). Immediately after, he participated distributing wheelchairs all over Quezon City.
Architect Rizal and his wife taught us all of the universal symbol of PWD and how it is politically correct to use the term Persons with Disability than disabled to help the growing 10% of the society deprived of opportunities (global estimate with the alarming fact that Philippines had never kept data). It was also an eye-opener to discover how the local government units never fully organized the PWD sector. This led Councilor Alfred Vargas to pass an ordinance to establish a particular office for PWD in Quezon City. It is the first PWD office in a local government and only Quezon City has it to date. More importantly, he continued to pursue taking accounts of the real numbers of differently-abled citizens in Quezon City which he hopes that will extend to other cities.
I am humbled at the fact that with more than 8,000 PWDs in Quezon City alone, less than a hundred of wheelchairs received wheelchairs with Councilor Vargas' efforts and we all need to do something about this. With the bloggers night, he called on the online social media to help him clang doors and windows to participate by simply doing the simple normal tasks everyone does everyday. Like his Facebook Page and subscribe to his website www.alfredvargas.net and follow him on Twitter for updates on calls he needs to make to raise more awareness and more opportunities for PWD. It isn't a difficult task to participate and we should all follow. I felt blessed to be a PWD in Quezon City because of Councilor Alfred Vargas and I am proud to be a supporter of his efforts.
According to World Health Association, Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations and participation restrictions. It includes Physical Disability, Sensory Disability, Intellectual Disability, Mental Health and Emotional Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities. The most interesting disability is the Non-visible covering those several chronic diseases like ashtma, diabetes and epilepsy.
I am using my PWD card not just to avail of the 20% discount like the senior citizens but to also monitor establishments honoring the privileges of my fellow differently-abled friends. It's R.A. 1179,01373,3562,4564,5250,6579,7277,9433,9442 and 10070. Funny to discover too many laws passed yet implementations fall short of needs. Have the heart to help because it's actually PWeDe! Join us all in making PWD PWeDe!Want to apply for a PWD card, read NCDA's steps here.
Make PWD PWeDe, please visit www.alfredvargas.net, like his Facebook page, Alfred Vargas Official, Plurk page, http://www.plurk.com/AlfredVargasOfficial, and Twitter, http://twitter.com/#!/TheAlfredVargas