On July 22, over fifty (50) Persons With Disabilities attended the PWD Rights Advocacy Planning Workshop organized by Zamboanga-Basilan Integrated Development Alliance as part of the convenio project that promotes the Human Rights Advocacy of the marginalized sectors in the community.
In her welcome remarks, Executive director Espie Hupida told the participants that the PWDs are often the most overlooked social sector and thanked them for their attendance. Ms. Hupida also said that they are now partners of ZABIDA, along with the consortium’s four NGO partners and other civil society and government agencies, whom she also thanked.
Ms. Ailyn Castro from the Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center (AVRC) interpreted in a sign language assisted the hearing impaired participants.
A short getting to know you as a warmup activity followed, after the participants were grouped into six clusters. Each cluster was assigned with one facilitator, these facilitators are Special Education teachers that were recommended by the DEPED, namely, Ma. Fatima Aquino, Geneviv Depollo, Dinna Venus Tubog, Kient Claude Ramos and Jane General and each with documenters from the Youth Solidarity for Peace; Alvic Villarin, Munadas Egido, Abdhukier Arabani, and Connie Anne Tee.
The first workshop commenced through the answering e questions about 1) their particular human rights problems, issues, concerns and 2) what are the obstacles they encountered in solving those problems, issues, concerns. After some discussions, the clusters printed their outputs on manila paper and these were displayed in the room.
After the workshop, Commission on Human Rights –IX information officer Daniel Paculanang gave a talk on aspects of HR conventions, laws, processes, cases, etc. He noted that the workshop is held in consonance with the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week being observed nationwide. Mr. Paculanang cited situations that compromise the wellbeing of PWDs and how they should handle the situation, such as when applying for a job, seeking legally prescribed discounts, commuting, entering premises, etc. He touched on highlights of the magna carta for PWDs. He also informed them how they may avail the services of the CHR office.
An open forum followed after the talk.
After lunch, the next workshop followed. It started with a brief discussion by Nelvert Anino on the topic of “Visual Arts as an Advocacy Tool” and “Technical Guide in Painting”. Then the clusters started the painting.
After more than one hour painting, the clusters individually presented their output, describing what the painted images are supposed to mean or convey.
After the viewing of the paintings, Teddy Kahil, a blind PWD who is the president of their city association, gave a talk. He acknowledged the assistance of ZABIDA to the PWDs. He narrated his and his family’s experience during the Zamboanga siege in 2013 wherein they also ended as IDPs. He said that PWDs have a right to receive aid from government especially to meet their basic needs or when they are in emergency situations. He hoped the workshop will be the start of collaboration with and support from ZABIDA, for the redress of the PWDs plight or to facilitate assistance from proper agencies.
After Kahil, the MYDEV coordinator of USAID, Rodolfo Saavedra, also gave a short talk about MYDEV services that PWDs may avail. He said a training program for PWDs has been submitted for approval and funding by USAID.
The closing remarks was given by KKI coordinator Maisie Faith Dagapioso. She thanked the PWDs for their attendance, gave a definition of disability, equated disability to refusal for government to listen and hear the complaints of PWDs.
The SPED teachers also gave short messages about the event.
The ever supportive Mr. Hassan S. Kaniya, a teacher from Ayala National High School and a Re-Unidos member was the master of ceremony during the whole activity.