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.

11 January 2014

Angels Walking for Autism, Making History

The Angels Walk for Autism 2014, a much-awaited celebration, is slated for 19 January 2013, Sunday. This event marks the annual kick-off for the National Autism Consciousness Week. At the heels of their win as the 2013 Apolinario Mabini Presidential Awardee, the Autism Society Philippines envisions this year's walk to be the biggest in the history of their advocacy.

"When we started, we had a few hundred walkers," recalls Dang Koe, ASP's Chair Emeritus. "Last year, we attracted 5,000 registered participants and a few thousands more who joined us as the program was in progress." Mr. Hans Sy has witnessed first-hand how the Angels Walk for Autism attracted a growing number of advocates every year. While the SM MOA Music Hall has been home to ASP's Angels Walk for Autism for several years, Mr. Sy saw that it was time to move to a venue better suited to our increasing numbers.

Mr. Hans Sy of SM is a familiar "suki" of every Angels Walk for Autism.  His commitment to disability inclusion is echoed from his management team down to the mall frontliners.
"By supporting activities like these, we are able to provide our customers and our partners with the opportunity to better understand members of our society who have special needs." commits SM Malls AVP Engineer Bien Mateo. "On a daily basis, SM ensures that each of its mall has sufficient accessibility for PWDs and their families."

In 2014, the Autism Society Philippines will also be celebrating its 25th year. Armed with the focus, determination and hope of our eleven founding mothers, the ASP leadership is keen on providing even more services to the growing number of families living with autism in the Philippines. They have committed to making this year’s Angels Walk for Autism an memorable event to commemorate what will be a landmark year.

Taken at Angels Walk 2013, this iconic image has become a symbol of the growing community of autism advocates, striving for genuine inclusion.

[Agenda edited 1/12/2014] At this year’s Angels Walk for Autism, the MOA Arena doors open at 6:30am. At 8am, the talent show featuring gifted PWAs and the Zumba warm up will be our front act. At 9am, the ecumenical prayers and angelic messages from our army of "archangels" -- leaders in government and in the private sector who have made a difference in the lives of individuals with autism. The walk will begin with each delegation queuing to take a leisurely stroll in a pre-determined path around the spacious SM Mall of Asia complex, cheered by marching bands and cheerleaders. The walkers will finish at the SM Music Hall for a raffle -- at stake are an iPad, Canon printers, a bike, and many other prizes -- and the closing messages. The Autism Society Philippines takes this opportunity to have fun and create the much-needed noise around issues that matter most to our community. Attendees can expect the usual festive atmosphere, amid a sea of advocates in green shirts and party favors.

Government agencies and local government units are also on the forefront of advocating for the rights of individuals with autism. The National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) leads the charge in the celebration of this year’s National Autism Consciousness Week where the members of the working committee amplifies the message of inclusion for individuals with autism with the theme "Katuparan ng Karapatan ng Pilipinong may Autismo; Isulong mo, Ngayon Na!"

Contributed by Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP National Secretary. This article appeared on 11 January 2014 in the print and on-line versions of Manila Bulletin.

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