Autism is an "invisible disability" which is slowly coming to the fore, as advocates continue their active participation in the civil society community. This is apparent in how visible our humble community has been recognized for their involvement and contribution to the cause.
Apolinario Mabini Presidential Awards 2015
The Apolinario Mabini Presidential Awards 2015 were given at the Heroes Hall of Malacanan Palace on 29 September 2015. The ASP contingent was led by ASP Chair Emeritus Dang Koe, National President Mona Magno-Veluz and National Trustees Jan Pena, Grace Adviento, Gina Bermudo and Helen Cheng.
The ASP, two years after our win as the Most Outstanding PWD Organization at the Gawad Gat Apolinario Mabini, was part of this year's screening committee. Jan Pena, ASP's immediate past president, served on the committee that helped refine the selection of candidates, before they were forwarded to the panel of judges.
Mirana Medina, the compassionate heart and creative mind behind "Alyana" (a documentary on her grandniece with autism), won the Gawad Gat Apolinario Mabini Media Advocate honors for her work on a film on deaf. On the same day, Mirana also bagged the second place honors for the under 60-minute category at the We Care Film Festival in India, for her documentary on Down Syndrome.
Unilab Foundation bagged a special award as a PWD Employer, for its work on Project Inclusion and for inspiring hiring of PWAs, such as Vico Cham. Incidentally, Vico, a gifted young artist on the spectrum, also received a special award as a PWD Advocate.
The City of Dasmarinas won the PWD-Friendly LGU honors; while the municipality of Carmona claimed a special award as a PWD-Friendly LGU -- after having taken home the Apo Award multiple times in the past.
Jollibee Family Values Awards 2015
The Pena Family -- Daddy Al, Mommy Jan, Kids Thea, Muneer and Milli -- of ASP Dasmarinas, after weeks of screening, deliberations and interviews, were among the top recipients of the Jollibee Family Values Awards last 24 September 2015 at the Philippine International Convention Center. Jan Pena and her family, who have fueled the growth of autism advocacy in Cavite, were among the six Filipino families selected by an esteemed panel of judges, composed of Senator Bam Aquino, Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Congresswoman Leni Robredo, Professor Winnie Monsod, Ms. Boots Anson-Rodrigo, Ms. Audrey Tan-Zubiri, News Anchor Edric Mendoza and Ms. Ma. Isabel Dionisio.
On hand were the Pena Family's "cheeleaders" ASP Chair Emeritus, National President Mona Magno-Veluz, ASP Trustees Grace Adviento and Carmel Almendrala, Teacher Ging Viado
These persons with autism, family members and corporate "angels" have been stalwarts in inspiring awareness, inclusion and appreciation of individuals on the spectrum. May their tribe increase!