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.

03 December 2011

President Aquino’s speech at the Asia-Pacific Community-Based Rehabilitation Congress, November 29, 2011

Speech of His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino III President of the Philippines At the 2nd Asia-Pacific Community-Based Rehabilitation Congress [Delivered at Sofitel Philippine Plaza, Pasay City, on November 29, 2011]

President Noynoy Aquino speaking during World Report on Disability

Secretary Dinky Soliman; Secretary Leila de Lima; Dr. Soe Nyunt-U; Ms. Chiyoda Kanda; Mayor Matin Petilla; Governor Grace Padaca, Ms. Emmary Perez, whom we just heard; the CBR Asia-Pacific Network Executive Committee; community-based rehabilitation practitioners, implementers, and promoters; delegates of the 2nd Asia-Pacific CBR Congress; fellow workers in government; honored guests:

Good morning.

Allow me to speak to you today about justice. At the bottom line of all our administration’s efforts is the desire to guarantee equitability: to ensure that the rights of one apply to the rights of all, that the opportunities given to one are the opportunities given to all, and that the consequences of one’s actions apply to the actions of all.

Our government pledged inclusive growth to the Filipino people. Most people take this in the context of economics—of providing opportunities for the poor—but when we promised inclusive growth, we promised it to all Filipinos, including those who by virtue of certain limitations, tend to be thought of as being unable to contribute to society. This is not necessarily a mindset that comes from cruelty, but one that perhaps only stems from ignorance and mistaken notions. And this is something that we want to change, because we know that to perpetuate this prejudice means not only depriving persons with disabilities of their rights, but more importantly, depriving them of their dreams.

I know that, perhaps more than any other group of people, I speak before an audience who has taken this mandate to heart, one that is similarly engrossed with the pursuit of justice, and one that is taking up the fight for those who may not be able to.

Many outsiders see events like the one we’re all attending today as a way to promote the rights of certain sectors, and they are not mistaken. We are here to do that. But what is truly impressive is that the idea, the dream, behind this event is simpler, yet at the same time, much more grand: that we only need to be considerate of one another. That, regardless of their situations, we know that we have to start treating each other the way we should—for example, by seeing persons with disabilities with the understanding that their disabilities are only incidental, and according to them what is rightfully theirs.

I am happy to share with you that the Philippines has already instituted measures toward this endeavor. Around 400 of our local government units, or LGUs, have been steadily empowering persons with disabilities by adopting community-based rehabilitation strategies. Their measures can be as simple as ensuring that someone in a wheelchair is able to move around freely, whether it be to attend school or to file paperwork at the municipal office, or as far-reaching as providing them with opportunities for both education and livelihoods.

As our LGUs are working to better the lives of their constituents, so too has our national government been supplementing these efforts. We have centers that can provide rehabilitation and care to persons with disabilities, and programs that can help them stand on their own two feet, by providing them with access to training and employment opportunities.

All of the steps we have taken so far, from instituting fair and honest business practices and good governance in the Philippines, to ensuring the rights of persons with disabilities, are in line with our administration’s dream for the Philippines. It is not only growth that we are after, but inclusive growth; not only progress, but equitable progress. I am sure that this is something you can understand and empathize with, as you too work for the same things in your respective countries and organizations.

Through this Congress, we are showing the world that we recognize the right of every person to be part of growth, but more importantly, that we recognize every person’s capacity to contribute in a meaningful way to moving the country forward.

And even in a day as important as this one, we recognize that this is not the culmination of our work; rather, we reinvigorate ourselves to face the challenges that remain. Despite the positive developments, we must not allow ourselves to be complacent. This is the attitude that all of us must adopt, not merely in improving the lives of persons with disabilities, but in improving the lives of people.

As you take on these challenges, rest assured that the Philippine government stands alongside you. We are proud of what our administration has achieved, but like you, we know that we cannot stop working so long as there are children who deserve an education but cannot get one, so long as there are Filipinos who want to work and provide for their families but cannot do so through no fault of their own, and so long as there are persons with disabilities that are prevented from living full and meaningful lives.

My message of today is clear: if we work hard, if we work together, if we work in the name of justice, if we do not stray from the straight and righteous path—we will arrive at the destination we have all aspired for from the very beginning: a Philippines, an Asia, and a world that prospers under the clear light of day.

Congratulations to all the participants of the 2nd Asia-Pacific Community-Based Rehabilitation Congress. Thank you, good day, and welcome.

Source: Official Gazette of the Republic of the Philippines


Anonymous said...

Hello, I am a mother of a 12 yr old boy with autism. I am thankful that they are given the same priveledge like that of senior citizens which is the DISCOUNT CARD that entitles them the 20% discount but i am just wondering why CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES are charged of 12% tax and that makes the 20% discount 8% less that tax. I really hope and pray thru this i may call your attention and attend to this matter as i find it ridiculous asking 12% tax from disabled.
Thanks and God bless!

vangie roque
meycauayan, bulacan

Sarah Bucu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah Bucu said...

i am a single parent who has 3 special kids, two of them have autism.i always have this dilemma when we are looking for a place to stay.i have 7 kids but one daughter is left with my mom in the province.I currently reside in Pasay which is near the kids' school and my work.but more often than not, apartment owners declined us because i have lots of kids.also a narrow minded neighbor one argued with me saying that my kids are in dire need of youngest son who is autistic and speech delayed drums away-on cabinets,doors and even walls.though, perhaps ,i do not have the right to be choosy,i hope one day that there will be a law protecting our kids' rights to have a place to stay,wether they are special or not

Autism Society Philippines said...

Ms. Sarah,

Under our 1987 Philippine Constitution, Article III, Section 6 of the Bill of Rights, a Filipino citizen has the liberty of abode and of changing the same within the limits prescribed by law shall not be impaired except upon lawful order of the court.

Regarding your neighbors concern about your children needing discipline, you can ask help from the Pasay City DSWD, which we have referred to you in the past. In case your children need assistance or therapy sessions on behavior
modification for your youngest son, you can ask help from the special education teacher in the public school where your son is attending. Set an appointment with them. They can help you set realistic goals for your family and children.

Please also take time to read the solo parent act of 2000

You can probably work out a flexible work schedule with your employer, so that you can spend more time with your special children.

For more information on ASP Programs and Services, please do not hesitate to email us at

Thank you.

Autism Society Philippines said...

Ms. Roque,
We have forwarded your concern to the National Council on Disability Affairs. Thanks

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