In line with the commemoration of National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation (NDPR) Week, Autism Society Philippines Laguna Chapter conducted sensitivity training to drivers, conductors and other personnel working for HM Transport Inc. and associated companies in its terminal in Barangay Biñan, Pagsanjan, Laguna. The orientation, attended by 49 employees, was conducted by chapter president Catherine L. Lopez, chapter treasurer Veronica G. Chavez and self advocates Ian Lopez and Emmanuel Zamora. Jorge Sundance Filamor II, chief operating officer of HM Transport, Inc. who made the orientation possible, was also in attendance. The orientation held on July 8 covers the first batch of employees while the orientation for the second batch will be held at a later date.
The feedback is generally positive and participants were able to gain knowledge in handling special passengers, which they will apply in their daily interactions with passengers.
The sensitivity training and the renewal of partnership between ASP Laguna Chapter and HM Transport Inc. was a result of an incident involving the mother of a person with disability and her child who were en route to their destination somewhere in Metro Manila. The incident was resolved with a meeting with officials from LTBRB, ASP Laguna and HM Transport Inc. representative, Gerry Yambao and chief executive officer, Mr. Homer A. Mercado. One good thing about the meeting is that Mr. Mercado recognized the efforts of ASP Laguna for bringing up this issue and supported its efforts to conduct sensitivity trainings in the transport sector, starting with HM Transport, Inc.
ASP Laguna thanks HM Transport for cooperating in the initial steps to help PWDs experience a pleasant travel using public transportation. This orientation is just a start in reaching out to the transport sector in the province of Laguna. Other companies and organizations that are part of the transport sector in Laguna and other parts of the country will have sensitivity trainings in the near future. Eventually, transport sector will be empowered plays a key role in making a difference in the lives of persons with disabilities and their families.
About the Author: Ms. Catherine L. Lopez is a mother of a young adult with autism studying at UP Los Baňos. She is the Job Coach for the office and messenger services of Autism Resource Center. She also serves as the President of ASP Laguna Chapter and coordinator of Los Baños Community Center, Therapy Intervention and Support Services.