In my WordPress Dashboard, I often find surfers land in my blog after searching for “Famous Disabled Filipino”. So, today I will write about one. Her name is Isabela Governor Ma. Gracia Cielo “Grace” Magno Padaca. No, she is not deaf. She is orthopedically impaired. But she was the one who strengthened the programs for the deaf community in her province and continually support the operations of Isabela School for the Deaf (ISD). She is the highest government official who is never ashamed of being a PWD. So, Gov. Grace is my most Famous Disabled Filipino! 🙂
I don’t know her personally. But I was able to meet her during our celebration of United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UN-CRPD) Philippine entry into force last May. She was our special guest of honor. She was very cordial, always smiling and greets everybody as if she knows all of them. I was there interpreting for our deaf representative from Zamboanga City. To my surprise, she practically knew the deaf! She remembered seeing her once during a workshop on women with disability sometime ago.
She also promised me that if I have some concerns regarding the deaf community in Isabela, I shouldn’t hesitate to visit her office at Ilagan and approach her. And I did! Although I did not personally went to her office, I sent her a letter asking for on-the-job training assistance for our deaf trainee Edmond Guzman Jr. who graduated at ISD. She immediately acted on it and accepted him. Last thing I heard, Gov. Grace’s office absorbed Edmond and now works as one of her staff.
Let my humble blog be a fitting testament of the many good works she did to her provincemates and to the Filipino disabled people, both as a role model and as an action oriented government official. Kudos and God bless you, Gov. Grace! We fully support you! 🙂
Here is an excerpt of a news item about Gov. Grace receiving the 2008 Ramon Magsaysay Award last August:
ISABELA GOVERNOR IS 2008 RAMON MAGSAYSAY AWARDEE
Mabuhay ang Pilipinong May Kapansanan! Padaca asks Filipinos: Replicate democratic victories
MANILA, Philippines — Breakthroughs and victories against “oppressive political structures” need to be encouraged and supported to be replicated, said Isabela governor and Ramon Magsaysay awardee for government service, Grace Magno Padaca on Sunday.
In accepting her award at the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Padaca also said political victories were “fragile” and asked for continued support.
“Victories are fragile and they need to be supported and encouraged,” she said. “Please continue encouraging and supporting me.”
The Ramon Magsaysay Awards, recognized as Asia’s Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated its 50th anniversary today with Padaca as one of the recipients.
Padaca broke the Dy family’s grip on Isabela in the 2004 gubernatorial elections by raking in 55 percent of the votes, making headlines for toppling a political dynasty that spanned 30 years. Now on her second term as governor, she rose to fame for her campaign for democratic elections. She also said that the “political victory” she achieved in her province must be replicated nationally.
“What we dared to do is to make democracy work especially in electing our leaders,” she said. “In less than two years, we will be electing
our leaders and are going to the polls. We need to continue succeeding after raining hopes on our people.”