The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being of persons on the autism spectrum disorder. We envision a society where Filipinos on the spectrum become the best of their potentials -- self-reliant, independent, productive, socially-accepted citizens of an Autism-OK Philippines.

22 March 2011

PWD Discrimination and the role of Government

By: Tiffany Tan, ASP Board Secretary

ASP was invited to a 4-day Free Training Workshop on the Monitoring of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) from February 24 to February 27, 2011 at the Great Eastern Hotel, Quezon City.

The event was organized by The Katipunan ng Maykapansanan sa Pilipinas, Inc. (KAMPI), through the assistance of International Disability Alliance (IDA). The guest speaker and trainor for the event is Mr. Alexandre Cote, IDA’s Capacity Building Program Officer.
Participants during Free Training Workshop

One of the workshop exercises aimed to discuss how discrimination is considered within the CRPD. Participants were divided into groups, each given a hypothetical scenario and tasked to (1) write what DISCRIMINATION is encountered by the PWD (2) What should or can the government do the address the issues.

Hypothetical Scenario George, 12 years old, lives in a rich neighborhood of Makati and has an intellectual disability.

Possible discrimination encountered by George

1. Vilification

George encounters hurtful words like “branding” and taunts “Otistik ka kasi!” or “Mongoloid ka ba?” because he is slow to answer questions being posted to him.

2. Lack of Patience and Sacrifice of Educators

In the public school where he is enrolled, the teachers are apprehensive on how to teach him. They lack patience in managing his needs, such as his inability to understand “social cues” and difficulty with math.

3. Overprotection of family members

George mom is overprotective of him, preferring to confine him in the home, so he had to be content in watching TV. He is not very independent, as his mom would prepare his clothes every morning and even his meals. George can not even fix himself a small sandwich or a cup of Milo. His older siblings make sure the doors are locked when George is home, for the risk or fear of him going out and being bullied by hooligan teens outside the house.

4. Low expectation and low opportunity

His father on the other hand feels frustrated on the lack of social acceptance and participation in the community activities. George loves to sing. During a recent talent show sponsored by the barangay, the organizers didn’t allow him to join, after knowing George has autism. They fear of not knowing how to manage his behavior and refused to have an open discussion with the family.

5. Excluded from services

Although George’s family live in a rich neighborhood in Makati, he is excluded from the services of the community. A nearby public swimming facility denied him entry when his PWD ID was shown to the receptionist, this despite George dad offering to be his swimming companion.

6. Refusal to grant 20% discount on Medicines

When George got sick with fever and tonsillitis, his doctor prescribed anti-biotic capsules for one week. His mom went to the nearest drug store to purchase his medicines. Despite having the doctor’s prescription, medicine booklet and PWD ID, the drug store refused to grant the discount citing that their main branch didn’t make any provisions for PWDs.

Click here to read how government can address George’s needs.

Each group member of Group 2 contributed their ideas, based on the experiences they themselves have encountered, as most of my group mates are PWDs, and one representative LGU from Surigao and one parent representative. Special thanks to Captain Oscar Taleon of AKAP-Pinoy, Abner Malapaz of Life Heaven, Carmen Zubiaga of WOW-Leap, Panfilo Marantan, Bong Comiling, Lydia Dampios and Connie Wad-as.


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