PWDs urged to improve mind-set, become productive citizens
PERSONS with disabilities (PWDs) should overcome their physical limitations and improve their mind-set to become productive citizens rather than suffer in silence and depend on others.
“If you believe that your disability defines you, then you are wrong. Treat it as a mere inconvenience, a problem you can overcome if you develop a mind-set that says you can handle anything,” Provincial Board (PB) Member Arleigh Sitoy said.
In last Saturday’s launching of the annual observance of PWD Month at the Ayala Center Cebu, Sitoy said PWDs should be encouraged to think that they are just as capable as their able-bodied counterparts.
The annual PWD observance carries the theme “Breaking Barriers, Opening Doors.”
Sitoy said over 12,000 Cebuanos are registered with the Office of the Differently-Abled Persons Affairs (ODAFA).
Sitoy, whose left side is partially paralyzed, chairs the PB committee on PWDs, underwent years of therapy and can now manage walking up staircases with the aid of a cane.
“Having a stroke made me realize all the things I can do; it made me run for office, actually. This time, as a different person, a better man,” he said.
Among those who attended last Saturday’s launching was 29-year-old Marvelous Jorda, a resident of Lapu-Lapu City who lost his sight when he was 10 years old.
“I know God gave me a chance and showed me the beauty in the world. That’s why I am strong now,” said Jorda, who runs the Blind Association of Lapu-Lapu City, and works in one of the manpower agencies in Cebu City.
Janice Aparri, project officer of the Philippine Accessible Deaf Services (PADS) Inc., said she grew up understanding that she was no different from other people.
“That is what everyone has to know. We are all equal, it’s the environment that makes persons disabled,” Aparri said through John Paul Maunes, founder of PADS.
About 30 students from special education (SPED) schools in Cebu province showed their talents at the Ayala Center Cebu’s Activity Center stage.
“Their smiles remind us that they choose to believe that it is their choice to be happy and it is the society and the community’s role to enable them to reach their full capacity,” said Gladice Dubin, president of the PWD Federation of Cebu Province.
Sitoy passed a resolution at last Monday’s PB session urging local governments in the province to allocate funds for the purchase of coasters or vehicles equipped with wheelchair lifts for persons with disabilities (PWDs).
“As custodians entrusted with public trust, it is our duty to make life easier for our brothers and sisters who are differently-abled and provide them a barrier-free society wherein they may live a normal life,” a part of the resolution read.
The PB is also asking the LGUs through their social welfare and development offices to register, update and expedite the issuance of identification cards to PWDs.
Sitoy also called for ordinances and programs that would grant life insurances to all differently-abled persons./WITH UP Cebu Intern Juli Ann M. Sibi
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