Archive for February, 2009

The unveiling of official DPP logo were led by different PWD leaders and MMDA Chairman, Bayani Fernando. ©Withnews
As the 2010 national elections is fast approaching, the Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy, Inc. (Alliance of Filipinos with Disabilities) launched the Disabled Pinoy Party (DPP), a political party list of Filipinos with disabilities, last February 16.

Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy, Inc. (AKAP-Pinoy) is a 415-strong federation of local and national organizations and 900 individual members dedicated to advocate for the rights and promote the interests of persons with disabilities (PWD).

During the launching ceremony at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan, DPP President, Michael Barredo, said that “DPP will serve as a medium in exercising civil and political rights of PWDs in 2010 under the Magna Carta for Disabled and United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWD (UN CRPD).”

The launching ceremony was attended by Metro Manila Development Authority Chairman, Bayani Fernando and Parañaque City 1st District Congressman, Eduardo Zialcita.

Present DPP Directorate, composed of PWD leaders who will serve for 2 years, has been appointed by AKAP-Pinoy as called for by its Constitution and By-Laws.

DPP President, Michael Barredo explains the platforms of DPP. ©Withnews
Present DPP officers aside from Barredo are Augusto Flores, Secretary General; Luis Arellano, Treasurer; and Directors composed of Noli Agcaoili, Oscar Taleon, Richard Arceño, Jocelyn Garcia, Albert Yruma, Darwin Palado, Pete Manio and Octavio Gonzales.

The DPP officers warmly appeals to all PWDs for support and unity in liberating the PWD sector and the society from divisiveness so that Filipinos would labor as a single and united front.

Barredo, also the President of Philippine Sports Association for the Differently-Abled, explained the platforms of DPP.

Among its vision for 2010 and beyond, DPP will strengthen and unify the PWD sector into one national organization through the exercise of its political rights with full participation in social, economic and cultural aspects of life.

DPP will also ensure the implementation of UNCRPD and all laws pertaining to PWDs to institutionalize changes that will enable Pinoy with Disabilities (PWDs) to enjoy a productive and better life.

Ultimately, DPP will work for the election of a Party List Representation in Congress that will address the legislative needs and rights of the PWD sector.

DPP will also provide PWDs wheelchair, education and training, equal access to employment opportunities and livelihood, fight against discrimination, development through sports, availability of healthcare programs, home for aging Filipinos with disabilities and spearheads disability prevention programs.

As a party-list for PWDs, DPP draws strengths from roughly 9 million Filipinos with disabilities. In terms of voting potential, this 9 million Filipinos with disabilities times 47% will have a total of 4.2 million PWD voters.

Once the PWD voters are organized, properly motivated and adequately funded, this total number of PWD voters will deliver the votes needed for a seat in Congress, which allows only 3 seats for party list representatives.

DPP targets its voters from PWDs and their families and friends, from supporters and sympathizers of PWDs and from local government officials and social workers.

According to DPP, “Resources or lack of it should not deter PWDs from pursuing their vision, aspirations, and intense desire to provide hope to the 9-Million Pinoy with Disabilities. With our shared vision, we can find ways to raise the resources we need for a meaningful electoral participation.”

News Item copied from withnews.org and authored by Mr. Raphael Torralba

After reaching my 130th post, 273rd comment and 267th tag, I have now reached another milestone of 35,000 visits! It was less than a month after the first 30,000th visitor read my blog (January 26). I was also able to attain it by posting only six times. Hooray for me! 🙂

Aside from those feats, I was able to land in one of the all-top blogs under the deaf category. I’m not sure how I was included in the a-list. But according to them, they rely on several sources: results of Google searches, review of the sites’ and blogs’ content, researchers, and their “gut” plus the recommendations of the Twitter community, owners of the sites and blogs, and people who care enough to write to them. I’m positive that I never wrote them. I don’t even know if my blog is being discussed in Twitter since I don’t have an account. Google gave me a Page Rank of 4 so it must be it. However, most likely it’s based from their “gut”. 🙂

My all-time high popular post is still about the deaf icons. It has received nearly 1,500 visits. Deaf Stress video closely follows. My American visitors are dwindling to 50% of my total readers while my Filipino readers are up by 31%.

I’m also pleasantly surprised that my latest post about success of a deaf marrying a hearing person was given a separate blog post by Meryl, the Bionic Ear Blogger. I’m truly honored and grateful. 🙂

After my 40,000th visits, I will celebrate every after every 10,000th.

Silhouette of Deaf Couple Signing (photo from Getty Images)
After reading this blog post about a romantic relationship between a hearing and a deaf that works, I started to ponder on it based on what I observed here in the Philippines. This post is very timely because sweet smelling love is in the air during this Valentine’s day. 🙂

A few days ago, I was shockingly surprised to receive a call from one of Eat Bulaga’s staff. He got my number from our school’s website (proving that our school is very popular on the Internet). I wondered why the longest running noontime variety show on Philippine television (possibly the world because they will be celebrating their 30th anniversary this year) would need me for? Well, Mr. Jojo (my namesake) Dunca requested if I could recommend to him two married couples; one hearing wife of deaf husband and one deaf wife of hearing husband, to participate in their special Valentine contest of “Sa Pula, Sa Puti“. This game pits two teams, red and white, by answering a series of easy questions. This time, they want married couples who are persons with disabilities from ages 18 to 45. They want the hearing spouses to interpret for their deaf partners. They must also present special numbers before they start with the Q & A proper. I’m familiar with the game because I’m an Eat Bulaga fan. I told the staff I would get back to him as soon as I can find one.

Now, I was on a tight spot. How can I find couples who are willing to join in the contest? On top of that, how can I find couples who would fit that description? I started texting my hearing friends to give me some referrals. I received none.

Then, it dawned on me. After being with the community for nearly twenty years, I only know four pairs of hearing and deaf. All of them are deaf husbands married to hearing wives. I haven’t met any deaf woman married to a hearing man. I’m not saying there aren’t anyone. But I haven’t had a chance to know one. Most couples I’ve seen are both deaf.

This leads me back to my main query, how successful is a deaf marrying a hearing person? Here are my succinct personal observations on the four couples I had the opportunity to be acquainted with:

  • The hearing wives are skilled signers. They had a deep immersion on deaf culture and its peculiarities.
  • The deaf husbands are well respected leaders of the community. They have the appeal and at the same time, the intellectual maturity compared to other male deaf of the same age.
  • Since deaf people are more straightforward in dealing with things, hearing wives tend to be more forbearing and patient with their deaf husbands than the other way around.

As for my Eat Bulaga dilemma, I told the staff I can’t find one. Last thing I heard, the show went on with the game last Friday without any deaf participants. Happy Valentine’s day everyone! 🙂

Republic Act 9442
Republic Act 9442 or the amendment of Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons and for Other Purposes (RA 7277) states that a Person with Disability shall be entitled to the following:

  • Twenty percent (20%) discount from all establishments like hotels, restaurants, etc.;
  • 20% discount on admission fees charged by theaters, concert halls, amusements, etc.;
  • 20% discount for purchase of medicines in all drugstores;
  • 20% discount on medical and dental services;
  • 20% discount on fare for domestic air and sea travel;
  • 20% discount in public railways, bus, etc.;
  • educational assistance through scholarships, books, etc.;
  • discounts in special purchases;
  • provision of express lanes in all commercial and govt. establishments; and
  • additional tax incentives.

However, persons with disabilities cannot avail of these privileges if they don’t present their special identification cards. According to the law and the Implementing Rules and Regulations, only the municipal, city and provincial government units are allowed to issue these IDs.

In my pre-employment preparation subject, I assist my deaf students in getting vital documents that they would be needed before they apply for jobs. Since most of them live in the National Capital Region, we were also able to visit some government offices of the surrounding cities. To my surprise, out of the seventeen highly urbanized cities, only six of them issue these IDs!

Special “thank you” goes to Quezon City government most especially to one of their well-loved officials, Ma’am Luz Cabauatan for assisting us. She said that our students simply show our school’s ID. That’s already a proof that they are a PWD. No need to submit any other requirements. Congratulations too to the mayors of cities of Manila, Malabon and Makati. Their processing procedure is very efficient and fast. Those who will assist you are PWDs themselves. Aldrin Gabriel and Ronald Joseph Santiago, two of our deaf school’s alumni working at Malabon City Hall, help disabled applicants. Aside from the benefits stated, Makati City also grants special free all-day entrance to any movie theaters for their PWD constituents!

I received a copy of the list from National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) office. To my PWD brothers and sisters, here is a list that will guide you in getting your IDs. Some LGUs require you to present your Barangay Certificate, ID photos and medical certificate indicating your disability or other proof of your disability as in the case of deafness. They will then give you a form which you can fill up and submit together with the other requirements I mentioned. As of October 2008, here are the cities and provinces that has issued special IDs:

  1. National Capital Region – Manila, Muntinlupa City, Malabon City, Makati City, Pasay City, Quezon City, Valenzuela City
  2. Region I – Dagupan City, Candon, Agoo, Aringan, Aringay, San Fernando City
  3. Region II – Enrile, Santiago, Kasibu
  4. Region III – Gerona, Olongapo City, Bulacan, Tarlac, Pampanga (all municipalities including Angeles City and San Fernando City), Palayan City
  5. Region IV – Binan, Dasmarinas, Sta. Rosa, Tagaytay City, Cavite, Cuenca, Calapan
  6. Region V – None
  7. Region VI – Iloilo
  8. Region VII – Cebu, Garcia, Talisay City
  9. Region VIII – None
  10. Region IX – None
  11. Region IX – Malaybalay, Gingoog
  12. Cordillera Autonomous Region – Baguio City, Ilogan, Atok
  13. CARAGA – Bislig, Surigao, Butuan, Tandag City
  14. Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao – None

Ito lamang po ang listahan ng mga mabubuting bayan at lungsod na nangangalaga sa kanilang mga nasasakupan na may kapansanan. Maraming salamat po sa inyong pagmamahal sa mga may kapansanan. (Here is the list of good cities and municipalities that care for their constituents who are disabled.) If your local government has begun issuing IDs and are not included in the list, kindly post a comment here so I can add it.

Dun naman po sa mga mayor ng lungsod na wala pa dito sa listahan, mahiya naman kayo! (For those mayors of cities and municipalities that are not on the list, shame on you!) This law has already been passed by the Philippine government since April 2007. Pebrero 2009 na po! Kailan pa kayo susunod sa batas at mangangalaga sa mga taong higit na nangangailangan? (It’s already February 2009. When will you follow the law and take care of people who need it the most?)

I have been preparing for this for months. As far as I know, Sandi Patty’s concert was only announced last November. After learning about it, I was so excited that on the next day, I withdrew a hefty sum from the bank while counting who am I going to be with. It’s my Mom’s birthday on the 13th so I might as well treat her together with my Dad in this once in a lifetime concert. And, since my whole family is a fan of hers, I bought tickets to all six of us. I also invited a very special friend and an esteemed colleague in the deaf world Dr. Therese Bustos, who took time to buy me a VHS tape of one of her live concerts in the US, to join us. I want to have this day so memorable that I bought pricey lower box tickets.

When we arrived at the Araneta Coliseum the night of February 7, we were wondering why was there no commotion. The lights on the gate were off. We went to the ticket booth. We were told that the concert was cancelled. Wow! Everybody was very much disappointed. There I was, feeling heartbroken that I wasn’t able to hear a glimpse of a glorious sound from heaven. 😦

After dining in at a nearby restaurant, we all went home. The first thing I did was google my way out of my frustration. I need an explanation as to why the concert was called off. Then, I got Sandi Patty’s official statement posted on the Becca Music (their official promoter) website:

STATEMENT FROM SANDI PATTY — February 4, 2009

“It is with the deepest regret that I must indefinitely postpone my concert engagement in Manila due to family obligations beyond my control.

I love the people of Manila and so looked forward to singing for them. It’s my sincere hope that I’ll be asked to come back sometime in the future.

Until then, please know that I am profoundly disappointed, but very grateful for everyone’s thoughts and prayers during this challenging time”

Sincerely,

Sandi Patty

After reading this, I headed to my mail box and emailed Sandi. I poured out my sentiments and frustrations. We are really looking forward to watch her show. Sandi has been our constant inspiration and we love her songs very much. The first time she came to our country was in early 80s. We were still in high school then so we have no money to buy tickets. My sister and younger brother were so depressed when we weren’t able to watch her show back then. So I promised myself that the next time she would do a concert here, I would not miss it for the world.

My sister was the one who introduced Sandi’s genre of gospel music in my family. She bought Sandi’s first “Love Overflowing” tape. We were truly blessed by that cassette tape and we memorized all of her songs. My sister sang some of them including the “When the Time Comes” and our all time favorite, “We Shall Behold Him” (view YouTube video above) as special number on our home Bible Baptist Church. Since then we became Sandi’s fans. I saved money to buy all of her original tapes, vinyl and now CDs. I have an almost complete collection of her albums from “Lift Up the Lord”, “The Gift Goes On”. “Morning Like This”, “Make His Praise Glorious”, “Find it on the Wings”, “Another Place, Another Time” (my niece sang I lift my hands many times in church) etc. up to her latest “Songs for the Journey” . I said almost because some of her albums were not available here. My all time favorite album is her “More than Wonderful Live Album”. I was expecting that Sandi will be doing that here. Sigh 😦

Aside from her heavenly brand of gospel music, Sandi Patty sometimes use sign language on her songs. I read in one of her biographies that she often include a sign language interpreter in most of her concerts. She has a soft heart for the deaf people. One example is her wonderful rendition of “We Shall Behold Him” (see YouTube video).

I pray that she would again visit the country to share her brand of Christian music hopefully in my lifetime. Praise God for giving us Sandi Patty! We wish you well! 🙂