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.

15 December 2011

Gender Perspective Considered

By: Cath Genovia, ASP Program Assistant

ASP Dream Girls, Thara Marie Santiago and Danica EscasiƱas, entertained and wooded the almost 600 participants from 65 participating countries with “Can You Read My Mind” during the first day of 2nd Asia-Pacific CBR Congress in Sofitel Philippine Plaza, morning of November 29, 2011.
The ASP Dream Girls

Many were surprised to find out that the young women have autism and they quickly posed with them for photos during the break. The girls also led singing the Philippine National Anthem, which was an impromptu request from National Council for Disability Affairs OIC, Dir. Mateo A. Lee, Jr.

“Sana po President, matulungan niyo po ang mga taong may kapansanan, mabigyan po sana silang trabaho,” came the very touching message came from Ms. Emmary Perez, a female child with visual impairment. Filipino PWD participants seated in the audience applauded her simple, but direct to the point message. The President shook her hand and proceeded to make his Keynote Address. Click here to read.

There were other interesting and very informative topics discussed throughout the day, they were as follows:

1. Linking UNCRPD and CBR Development and Human Rights for all by Hon. Leila De Lima, Secretary of Justice, Republic of the Philippines

2. Relevance of CBR for the Asia-Pacific Region by Ms. San Yuenhaw, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific.

3. World Report on Disability and its linkage with CBR by Ms. Alana Officer, World Health Organization (WHO)

4. Multi-Stakeholder collaboration on Community-Based Inclusive Development in Asia and the Pacific by Mr.Akie Ninomiya, Asia Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD)

5. Country Experiences in the Implementation of UNCRPD and MDG through CBR: supportive national and local legislations; implementing mechanisms adopted; policy and program development

But in the afternoon, ASP Board Secretary, Tiffany Tan and this author chose to attend the “Gender Equality among Persons with Disabilities”. This topic, among the other concurrent sessions presented, seem to be more relevant, as issues on women with disabilities, were rarely discussed.

Topics presented were Empowering Women with Disabilities through Information Communication Technology (Bangdalesh Experience), Inclusive Children Parliament (India’s Experience) and Creating the Voice of Women with Disability in Every Community (Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Philippines).

After the presentations, participants were made to join the exercise on current issues revolving around our advocacies and came up with the following conclusions (not necessary in order), and these were submitted to the session organizers for documentation:

1. Self-determination of PWAs to achieve their goals
Such as the ASP Dream Girls experience of wanting to improve their talents in singing, their families bonded their resources, including their mentor, to help the girls undergo voice training lessons. One of the girls has already applied for a College Scholarship for a degree in Music and was accepted.

2. PWAs and their parents being knowledgeable of PWD rights and fighting for them Uninformed parents lack information of existing laws protecting PWDs, especially girls from abuse, and where to get help and assistance.

3. Exodus of trained professionals

4. Support of family and community, like encouraging and mentoring PWAs

5. Sustainability of programs for PWAs and their families

6. Support services from LGUs

7. Awareness of Autism – advocacy campaign

8. Danger of being used by politicos or being manipulated by politicians

While ending the day with coffee and sandwiches, I sincerely hoped and prayed that someday, somehow, ALL the rights meant for our PWDs will be fully implemented with 100% support from the government and the public. I was glad to find out that on the third day of the congress, Gender Perspective is considered in all CBR Activities, as collectively recommended by the members of the Asia-Pacific Congress in Manila. Click here to read more.


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