The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons with autism spectrum disorder. The ASP has been in the forefront of providing services and training to families living with autism.

24 October 2014

Meet the Candidates

The Autism Society Philippines will be electing its next batch of trustees this 25 October 2014, Saturday.  The Election Committee is composed of Mr. Ranil Sorongon (Elecom Chair), Ms. Cathy Tañedo (Elecom Vice-Chair), Ms. Ida Blasco, Ms. Carla Dizon and Mr. Lloyd Ngo. Ranil and Cathy have both served as ASP Executive Directors.



Fifteen (15) nominees were evaluated by the Election Committee for the criteria set in the ASP Operations Manual. While some were not qualified, others did not accept the nomination. As of today, the Elecom has confirmed the final nine (9) candidates.

According to the ASP Policy 14-0033 on Organization Design, Item 6.2.3.3: In the event of board vacancy, the Board of Trustees will nominate candidates from the pool of active members who meet the criteria for ASP Trustees and will collectively decide who among the nominees shall fill up the board vacancy.

Meet the candidates for the ASP Board of Trustees 2014-2016.

Adviento, Mary Grace (ASP National). A physical therapist by training but a copy center entrepreneur by profession, Grace is mother to CWA Adrian. Her down-to-earth and magnetic appeal makes her one of the best facilitators of Early Detection and Intervention Program and SM Autism Orientation. Grace is “face of ASP mom.” She brings encouragement to mothers that life with autism can be exciting, giving smiles of hope to other families. Grace has contributed to ASP in multiple capacities, most significantly as ASP’s President from 2010-2012.

Almendrala, Carmelita (ASP National). A former ambassador’s wife and an Ulirang Ina Awardee of 2010, Carmel personifies diplomacy as she faces the world with poise, grace and intelligence. Over the years and in the many countries where their family has had to relocate because of her husband's work, she laboured tirelessly to advocate for her son Michael, now in his 40’s. Serving as Trustee for more than six terms, she reminds young mothers of children with autism: Grab every opportunity and don’t take no for an answer. This is evident in her son Mike, who is a Special Olympian Medalist (who competed in 2005 in powerlifting and in 2013 in bowling), a 2005 Apolinario Mabini Awardee, and an independent member of the community working as an administrative staff of the Philippine Information Agency.

Cabason, Alejando (ASP Marikina). Alex is a graduate of AB Political Science from the University of the East Manila and of MA in Public Administration from the University of the Philippines Diliman. This public servant, church worker and a motivational speaker is happily married with four children. His youngest child, Victor Lorenzo or Vinz is on the spectrum. An ardent advocate of autism education since 2002, he is the President of ASP Marikina Valley Chapter.

Evelyn and Gelo
Go, Evelyn (ASP National). Evelyn juggled between managing her business and taking up Special Education in UP Diliman to help her son, Gelo. “This disability (autism) will be a life long challenge our family has to face. I accepted this and learned to cope.” With her no-non-sense financial management skills and business instincts, Evelyn has been a valued ASP Trustee, serving as the organization's Treasurer for multiple terms.

Peña, Mary Janette (ASP Bacoor). She is the current President of ASP National. She was the former President of ASP Bacoor, Cavite chapter and is fondly called the “Gobernadora of ASP Cavite Chapter”. Jan is one of the movers behind the meteoric rise in the numbers of ASP chapters nationwide. Her exemplary efforts have gathered hundreds of members from Cavite alone. Tita Jan and Al, her supportive husband and overseas Filipino worker in the Middle East, are doting parents to her three children, Thea, Muneer (an adolescent with autism) and Milli.

Marivic (right)
Ramos, Ma. Victoria (ASP Laguna). Marivic currently serves as the Vice-President of ASP Laguna. Marivic is a pillar of the autism advocacy community in Los Baños, immersing herself in special education and training and empowerment programs over the years. As an ASP delegate, she was elected to the board of the Philippine Community Based Disability Inclusive Development Network. She is a single mother to a 22 years old young adult with autism, Victor Michael "Mico" Ramos.

Sicam, Cecilia (ASP National). She is one of the 11 original founders of the Autism Society Philippines. She has served ASP in many capacities, as President from 2000 to 2004; and as its current Vice President. Inspired by her PWA son Likas, Ces has been instrumental in the founding of Professionals for Autism Foundation, Inc., Center for Autism and Related Disorders, the Philippine Association for Behavioral Analysis, and Bridges Foundation where she is currently its Directress. She taught SpEd for three years Santa Clara, California; and came back to serve Filipino children with special needs. Her adult son is employed full time as R & B Ice Plant.

So, Perlita (ASP National). Peng juggles between being a full-time, hands-on-mom to her two gems on the spectrum, Patrick and Angelo; and, with her husband, empowering her other adult children in handling the family business. Peng has inspired many with her fortitude in guiding Patrick (who recently graduated from the Ateneo de Manila University) and Angelo (who undergoes functional life skills and pre-vocational training). By a fortunate stroke of serendipity, Peng was introduced to ASP and autism advocacy; and she has never looked back. Advocating for autism acceptance and inclusion has become a part of her daily agenda. She inspires others to think beyond the autism diagnosis and to enrich the lives of children with autism by gifting them with valuable life experiences.

Veluz, Mona (ASP National). Mona received degrees in Business Administration, Applied Economics and Strategic Marketing from the University of the Philippines, University of Asia and the Pacific and the London School of Business. As a practicing marketing communications professional, she has held various global management roles in the technology industry. Mona is a wife and a mom to three kids. Her eldest is PWA Carl, a young man working in their family business. She is currently serving as the National Secretary of the Autism Society Philippines.

23 October 2014

Non-NCR ASP Members may vote on-line

The ASP National Office recognizes the growing number of provincial chapters. Members from provincial chapters are often unable to participate in ASP National General Assemblies and Elections because of geographical distance and personal expense necessary to make a trip to Manila. The Board of Trustees recognized that many modern technological advances may help solve the difficulties of our members in provincial areas to engage with ASP National.



By virtue of Board Resolution Number 14-0069, dated 19 May 2014, the Autism Society Philippines will utilize digital technology to allow current members in the provincial areas to exercise their right to vote in ASP National elections. Communications with members, broadcasting the general assembly and voting for trustees may also be conducted through secure suitable digital technologies.

Members from the National Capital Region are NOT eligible for on-line or distance voting; because their presence in a critical meeting such as a National General Assembly is a basic member responsibility. Any votes received from a member from NCR will NOT be counted by the Election Committee.

If you are an updated member living outside Metro Manila, you may cast your vote on 24 October 2014, Friday between 1pm and 9pm.

10 October 2014

Referendum on new ASP by-laws on October 25

The Autism Society Philippines will be holding its 2014 General Assembly on October 25 at the Ground Floor, Lopez Building, Meralco Compound In Pasig City. Aside from electing the new board of trustees, the ballot will also include a "yes" or "no" vote on the the new by-laws.



The ASP By-Laws, now 25-years old, needed to change to keep with the needs of an ever-growing family advocacy. The proposed changes are a result of more than a year of research on the most effective approach to certify the society as a genuine non-government organization (NGOs) amidst post-Napoles public scrutiny, a consultation with chapter leaders on policy priorities at the Chapter Leaders Conference on 8-9 March 2014 and multiple ASP Board deliberations in 2014.

The proposed changes on the ASP by-laws can be summarized below.
  1. Update communication to include electronic means since there were no cell phones or internet at the time the By-laws were made.
  2. Redefinition of duties of National officers as overseers of staff rather than actual performers of tasks.
  3. Inclusion of statements required by the Philippine Council of NGO Certification, regarding disposal of organization’s assets upon its dissolution.
The full text of the proposed ASP by-laws can be found here. The line by line comparison of old and new provisions of the ASP By-Laws can be found here.

While many more improvements and changes can be introduced to the By-Laws, the ASP trustees feel that the proposed changes addresses the society's most critical needs and our visibly urgent priorities, while keeping in mind our humble resources, our long-term vision and our fundamental mandate of being an education and support advocacy group for families and individuals who live with autism.

While additional revisions are no longer possible at this time, members are welcome to raise their suggestions on changes to the by-laws for the next general assembly. A member may raise their idea with their chapter leadership, who can then endorse the matter, as a collective, to ASP National. It will be on the chapter to provide substance to support their suggestion's relevance -- not just to their personal circumstance -- but to ASP's general membership.

See you all at the General Assembly!

09 October 2014

“Pursuer of Dreams” Workshop held in Imus

ASP-Imus held a watercolor workshop entitled Pursuer of Dreams last September 27, 2014 at the activity center of Robinson's Place in Imus, Cavite. It was attended by 10 CWAs, 7-15 years of age, and their siblings. Most of them came from the Imus Public Sped Centers.


A kind-hearted individual who also has a brother in the Autism Spectrum provided the art materials and snacks for this event. It is one of her dreams to organize a watercolor workshop for CWAs to help them and their siblings express themselves through painting and thereby create a bond between them.

The parents of the participants are very thankful for this opportunity given to their children. They are very proud of their kids for their achievements in that activity.

08 October 2014

The CBR Congress in the eyes of an ASP Leader

The three-day CBR Congress held on September 30 to October 2 of this year was very much anticipated on my part -- first because of the opportunities it brings in renewing and establishing networks with other advocates and volunteers working with the disability sector; and second, it is the best venue to fully comprehend what Community Based Rehabilitation is all about.

On Day 1, we heard Ms Carmen Zubiaga, the acting Executive Director of the National Council on Disability Affairs, welcoming the more than 300 participants from all over the country to the Second Philippine CBR Congress, whose theme is “CBR: Key to inclusive development in communities”. Proclamation 688 declared the Philippine Decade of Making Rights Real for PWDs – and the NCDA has led the formulation of the Decade Plan of Action in coordination with the national government agencies, the NGOs, and the DPOs.

The speakers emphasized the importance of CBR, which is also one of our legislative agenda in ASP. Clearly CBR is the practical strategy towards empowerment and inclusive development, where all people and every member of the community is respectful of the rights of our PWDs.

According to the World Health Organization, community-based rehabilitation (CBR) focuses on enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities and their families; meeting basic needs; and ensuring inclusion and participation. It is a multi-sectoral strategy that empowers persons with disabilities to access and benefit from education, employment, health and social services. CBR is implemented through the combined efforts of people with disabilities, their families and communities, and relevant government and non-government health, education, vocational, social and other services.

  • Relies on community resources
  • Emphasizes direct participation of PWD in planning and implementation of actions affecting them
  • Highlights the needs for increased collaboration of service providers and involvement of the local politicians
  • Promotes identification and referral of people with disability to improve their access to services and participation
  • Aims to promote greater participation of PWD in a given territory
  • Originated from local development rather than rehabilitation
  • Embedded in decentralization system and pays particular importance to the processes of good local governance and inclusive community management

From the keynote message of the Undersecretary of DSWD Ms. Patricia Paraji: the bottomline is to guarantee equitability; the rights of one apply to all, opportunities given to one is enjoyed by all. CBR is inclusive development and while numerous challenges lay ahead, we must work together to ensure inclusivity, where everyone is accepted. Each one has a role to play and a hand to make it work. The CBR Framework is a life changing structure for the growth and development of every member of the community and we must all contribute to its development.

The World Disability Report states that people with disabilities are marginalized in many aspects of societies.
  • They have generally poorer health, lower education achievement, fewer economic opportunities and higher rates of poverty than people without disability.
  • They are more likely to experience greater social isolation and decreased participation in community life.
  • They must overcome greater barriers to access services in low income countries.

The global situation now is that 15% of the world population experience disability which is approximately 1 in 7 people. An empowered sector is the foundation of any CBR program. It is implemented through combined efforts of PWDs, their families, their communities, the different organizations and relevant government agencies on health, education, social and livelihood services.

CBR as a strategy must be focused in enhancing the quality of life of PWDs and their families; it is about meeting the basic needs and ensuring inclusion in local communities and improving access to services. With CBR, the PWDs and their family members are leaders in decision making processes. This brings about change in culture and practices, removing the stigma and prejudices that would lead to a deeper understanding of how disability can affect human lives. If it does not empower, it is not CBR.

The last day of the congress was for the election and formation of the CBR Network AdHoc Committee – 13 members for the Interim Board who will work for the immediate future direction of the Philippine Community Based Disability Inclusive Development Network. Coming from the different DPOs and organizations to represent the different regions of our country, one of our very own – Ms Marivic Ramos of ASP Laguna Chapter was elected Board Member as the parent representative of Luzon; the other parent being Ms. Marjorie Gimeno of Parent Mobilization Action Group (PMAG) for the Visayas / Mindanao area.


The decade for the rights-based, barrier-free, inclusive society started in 2013 will end on 2022 - and the ASP has always been in the forefront and steadfast in advocating for the basic principle of equality for the autism community….. as the song goes – We are on the right track.

About the contributor. Dr. Anawi A. Tolentino is the Chapter President of ASP Hagonoy, a practicing physician in the field of internal medicine and a hands on Mom to her 18-year old son – Jandell. She is also the administrator of the Supportive Parents of Hagonoy Children with Disability (SPHC) Center whose programs are centered on parent empowerment and providing learning opportunities for CWD.

 
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