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.

14 November 2014

An ASP Advocate at the Pre-Summit on Children

As an active self-advocate representing Autism Society Philippines and my home chapter of ASP-Laguna, I attended the Pre-Summit on Children last 25 October 2014 at the Council for the Welfare of Children office in Barangay Santa Teresita, Quezon City.

Ian Lopez speaking in Pre-Summit on Children

I participated in the said event, along with other children and youth coming from different parts of the country, as they tackle and discuss issues involving Filipino children in preparation for the Summit on Children, to be held sometime in the first quarter of 2015. I was accompanied by Ms. Catherine Lopez, mentor and ASP-Laguna Chapter president.

During the Pre-Summit, I talked about my experience in the first ASEAN Children's Forum (ACF), which was held in October 2010 at Fontana Leisure Park in Clark Freeport, Pampanga. Moreover, I represented the Philippines together with two other delegates in the presentation of the ACF report in the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development in Brunei Darussalam in November 2010.

Another participant talked about her experience as a delegate in the 2012 Philippine National Children's Conference, which was held at Lancaster Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

Some of the issues I raised in the pre-conference were:
* Family - The changing face of the family (single-parent households, OFW parents, same-sex couples having adopted children)

* Citizenship and governance - Freedom of information or full disclosure and the nanny state (the term he used for a large institution like the government, non-government sector, corporate sector dominating over policies involving personal choice).

* Media platforms - Doxing (a “practice of investigating and revealing one’s personally identifiable information without consent”), corruption in campus journalism and among youth bloggers.

* Climate change - A comprehensive landuse program for all Local Government Units to determine areas at risk (earthquakes, lava flow, typhoons, etc.)

* Other concerns - Malnutrition among children and the youth, children beggars/mendicants and children with disabilities and how they can cope with daily challenges plus their transition to adulthood.
The best part of the pre-conference is that the participants raised valid concerns that affect
children and the youth while simultaneously offering solutions for it. The participants are
confident that they can make an impact on Filipino children and the youth and they are hoping
that those issues will be raised in the third Summit for Children next year.

On my part, I am hoping that some, if not all, of the issues tackled will be raised among
critical decision-makers in the country: from school administrators to the barangay
leaders to city and municipal mayors to provincial governors to legislators to cabinet
heads to eventually the head of state. I am hoping that their decisions will positively affect
Filipino children and the youth, especially Filipino children and young persons with disabilities.

About the contributor: Ian Ferdinand Lopez is a scholar of the provincial government of Laguna, studying BA Sociology at the University of the Philippines Los BaƱos. Diagnosed with autism when he was three years old, he benefitted from the care of loving parents and early intervention professionals; and was successfully mainstreamed from pre-school up to high school. His started his advocacy as part of the Autism Resource Center and represented the PWD sector in the Philippine National Children’s Conference, the PWD Empowerment Seminar, the ASEAN Children’s Forum and the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Social Welfare and Development (AMMSWD).


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