DTI Approves 5% Discount for PWD on Basic Commodities

To all Filipino Persons with Disabilities (PWD), here is another good news! The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has approved the special five percent (5%) discounts of the regular retail price on all basic necessities and prime commodities.

Following the Republic Act 9442 otherwise known as Amended Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the DTI together with the Department of Agriculture (DA) issued a joint Administrative Order 2, Issue 2008 granting special discounts to all PWDs.

As defined on the order, “basic necessities” refers to rice, corn, bread, fresh, dried and canned fish and other marine products, fresh pork, beef and poultry meat, fresh eggs, fresh and processed milk, infant formulas, fresh vegetables, root crops, coffee, sugar, cooking oil, salt, laundry soap, detergents, firewood, charcoal, candles and other commodities as may be classified by both the DTI and DA.

The discounts can be availed on any retail stores including supermarkets, groceries, convenience stores and sari-sari stores. In order to receive this discount, a PWD must present his/her:

  1. PWD ID issued by their local governments;
  2. Purchase Booklet (also issued by the local governments)

To know more about these privileges, kindly download the Administrative Order in PDF format here. Don’t forget to print and bring this to the supermarkets together with other requirements in case they refuse to honor it. 🙂

Disabled Pinoy Congressional Party Launched

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

List of cities and provinces issuing IDs for persons with disabilities

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?)

Emilie Padullon, Deaf person working for Philippine President

Emilie with Philippine President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo
Emilie with Philippine President Gloria-Macapagal Arroyo

This is the first of a series of features that focuses on famous or notable Filipino Deaf. It’s my way of recognizing their feats and showcase their successes all over the world.

Emilie M. Padullon now celebrates her eleventh year working with the Philippine government under the Office of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Emilie with Presidential Daughter Luli Arroyo
Emilie with Presidential Daughter Luli Arroyo

It all started like this. After being one of the first batch of MCCID graduates in 1996, Emilie wanted to work immediately. But after more than a year of fruitless effort, we decided to ask for government’s help. So in early 1997, we emailed all the Philippine Senators during that time seeking for employment. We prayed that at least one would respond. God answered us because out of 24 senators, only the most popular one, Sen. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo replied through her daughter Ma’am Luli Arroyo. She asked if Emilie can go to her office in Port Area, Manila for an interview schedule.

We were so thrilled and terrified at the same time because this will be our first meeting with one of the highest government official in the country. When we arrived at Sen. Arroyo’s office, we met with Ma’am Luli and had a short but promising interview. “She was very beautiful, cordial, sweet and charming. We immediately had a good rapport with her.“, as Emilie remembered.

After a computer examination, Emilie was asked to come back on the 17th of the month to start working. We were very excited and thankful to God that she was accepted. She started doing clerical work and computer encoding. Later, they became close with Ma’am Luli. There were many occasions where Ma’am Luli joined her during lunch breaks. She even learned manual alphabet and a few sign language. She will never forget all her fond memories with the Senator’s only daughter.

Working with then Sen. Arroyo was also exciting yet frightening. She described Mrs. Arroyo as a perfectionist and businesslike yet motherly in most of her actions. Everybody was constantly on their toes. She warned all her staff to always do things the right way and with negligible errors. But she also reminded them that they are doing it for the people in need and not only for themselves.

Emilie with First Gentleman Mike Arroyo
Emilie with First Gentleman Mike Arroyo

She had many anecdotes about having a senator as her boss. One time, Sen. Arroyo was angry that Emilie had many typing errors. She immediately called her attention and started speaking to her about her mistakes. Emilie was petrified. However, the senator forgot that Emilie was deaf. So Ma’am Luli went to her rescue. She reminded her mother that Emilie cannot hear her voice. Sen. Arroyo replied, “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot.”, then she asked her daughter to explain to her the errors Emilie made and told her to be careful next time.

When Senator Arroyo ran for Vice President in 1998 and won overwhelmingly, she brought Emilie with her. She transferred to the new office in Roxas Blvd. There she met with Atty. Jose Miguel (Mike) Arroyo who was very appreciative with her performance as an employee. He observed that Emilie is a good role model for other workers. Because of her, VP Arroyo hired four more deaf graduates from MCCID. They are Antonina Patricio, Christine Rivero, Arvin Castuciano and Pilipino De Luna. Arvin is very close and became basketball buddies of Presidential Sons and now Congressmen Dato and Mikey Arroyo. He was often called to do sports activities and charity work especially in their home province of Pampanga. When Antonina and Pilipino got married, they chose VP Arroyo as their godmother. I interpreted in their civil wedding and also became one of their godfathers. So President Arroyo and I are technically related (mag-balae). hehehe

Emilie with Presidential Son and Congressman Dato Arroyo
Emilie with Presidential Son and Congressman Dato Arroyo

In 2001, when the then President Joseph Estrada was ousted by a People Power II Revolution, VP Arroyo was installed in the highest position of the land. Emilie was then transferred to Malacanang Palace and continues to work there. She is under the Correspondence Office. The other deaf staff were placed in various government offices within the palace.

Emilie, now 30, was not born with hearing impairment. She comes from a poor born-again Christian family from Batangas. At age 12, she suffered from high fever due to meningitis. In the hospital, she was bombarded with strong antibiotics to make her fever go down. The doctors were successful in restoring her health but at the expense of her hearing ability. Slowly she lost her sense of hearing until it became none. This devastated her and made her depressed for many years. However, she slowly recovered when the whole family transferred to Manila and enrolled at Philippine School for the Deaf. There she learned how to sign and soon afterwards, she regained her courage to live.

MCCID Students Tour Malacanang Palace (Emilie in Middle)
MCCID Students Tour Malacanang Palace (Emilie in Middle)

President Arroyo’s field of expertise is the economy. In 1987, she was appointed undersecretary of Department of Trade and Industry during President Corazon Aquino’s term. But probably due to Emilie, Mrs. Arroyo started to develop a soft spot for marginalized sectors especially women and the disabled. When she was asked to join then President Estrada’s cabinet in 1998, she chose to be the Secretary of Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) instead of a more high profile position. During her term as president, she pushed for the amendment of the 1994 Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons which added privileges to the sector similar to senior citizens. Republic Act 9442 was signed into law last 2007. She extended the observance of Philippine Decade of Disabled Persons from 1991-2002 to 2003- 2012. She also fast tracked the Philippine ratification of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Through her executive order, she renamed the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP) to National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and transferred it from under DSWD to the Office of the President in order to personally supervise it.

Persons with disabilities became close to the President’s heart. She often mentions the deaf in her many speeches. The recent one was during her speech celebrating the 35th founding anniversary of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan, Inc. (House With No Steps) last February held at Presidential Palace. The president proudly said,

We have been encouraging businesses to hire disabled but qualified workers. I myself when I was vice-president, I took in a number of PWDs in my staff and when I became president, they moved with me to Malacanang. And we’re very happy of the good work that they do.

I’m not sure if Emilie is the first deaf person who ever worked with a Philippine President because we don’t have any previous records. But, I believe she is the only deaf person in history who made a lasting impact to any Philippine President. 🙂

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When does a joke becomes a ridicule?

When does a deaf person perceive a given situation to be a joke? When does he think that he is already being discriminated or being mocked? How do they draw the line between someone throwing a harmless joke and one that is already harassing? Given the deaf’s inability to hear makes them vulnerable of being misunderstood.

One of the peculiarities in understanding the deaf is in terms of their perspective of their surroundings. Since most of the time nobody explains to them what is going on, they view situations based on what they see. This leads to misapprehensions and may even put them into humiliation. Now this is tragic.

Our small school for the deaf is currently renting the first two floors of a 4-story building in Cubao, Quezon City. We have employed a very faithful and trustworthy middle aged deaf utility named Eriberto. He is a Christian like most of our employees, conscientious in his work and has no vices. Although he appeared lean, he is strong and healthy.

When tenants from the ground floor complained that minute parts of their plastic rooftop were melting and gaping holes beginning to appear due to cigarette butts being thrown on it, they immediately called the attention of the building owner’s son. In order to protect his rights, I simply call him the “Harasser“. Probably due to his need to impress his father and his other tenants, he readily pointed a finger on our deaf Eriberto.

I don’t know why many people often accuse the deaf as one of their “usual suspects”. Is it because they are harmless and cannot readily defend themselves? This is sickening.

Even though Mr. Harasser made further investigations, he already had someone in mind to blame, our deaf. One evening, while I’m making some repairs on the computer lab, Mr. Harasser suddenly appeared and started asking questions to every deaf he met. Since they don’t understand his words, his facial fits made them feel that he’s angry. They immediately called me. So I talked to the him defending our staff. I emphasized that we have a school policy against smoking. We only have less than 100 students so we personally monitor their actions. I further clarified that we are not the only tenants in the building. There is another technical school, recruitment agency office and a call center training school for hearing at the second floor. They too have students/clients who smoke and stayed near the window above the contested rooftop. Still, my explanation meant nothing to him. During our conversation, he never left his eye off of our deaf. Mr. Harasser asked for his mobile phone number, verified if he uses a red cigarette and even took his photo from his cell phone. The situation is really getting off my nerves but I maintained calmness until he left.

A few days later, while our deaf was walking passed Mr. Harasser’s shop, he again called him. He gestured threatening him that he can be put to jail if he won’t stop throwing cigarette butts from the window. He motioned like a policeman putting handcuffs and slashing his finger off his neck saying “you’re dead”. All that time, he was laughing like a cursed devil to our deaf in front of his staff. Naturally, Eriberto got bloody scared. He can’t decipher if Mr. Harasser is just pulling his leg or already intimidating him. So he ran up and looked for me gasping while recounting his story.

Now, that really pissed me off. Together with my father, we went straight to Mr. Harasser. On top of my voice, I asked him, why does he keep on harassing and accusing our staff? Can’t he understand my explanation that he did not do it? It’s now my turn to threaten him. I said that if he’d do it again and our staff resigned, we will follow him and move the school to another location. I reminded him that we are their biggest tenant in terms of space area and rental fee. And if Mr. Harasser again bullied the deaf, we can file harassment case against him and slap disability laws (RA 9442) on his face. Mr. Harasser’s staff pacified the tense situation and apologized to me.

The next day, again, as Eriberto went passed his shop, he called him, texted words on his cell and showed it to him. He said he was just joking and doesn’t mean what he said the other day. Our deaf already developed phobia so he didn’t believe Mr. Harasser. Eriberto told me about the incident. I uttered, “What the..! That’s it? All the while, he was JUST JOKING?” I tell you, Mr. Harasser is definitely sick.

I appeased Eriberto and explained to him, the next time Mr. Harasser terrorized him again, we will report him directly to the barangay chairman for violating the Section 8, Chapter 2 of Amended Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons.

Republic Act 9442 has a special provision against verbal, non-verbal ridicule and vilification against persons with disability. Violators will be slapped with a fine of not less than Fifty thousand pesos (P50,000.00) but not exceeding One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than two years. For subsequent violation, a fine of not less than One hundred thousand pesos (P100,000.00) but not exceeding Two hundred thousand pesos (P200,000.00) or imprisonment for not less than two years but not more than six years will be thrown on him. This law was only enacted last 2006 and very few people still don’t know that it exists.

My advice to the deaf, the next time heartless people mock or ridicule you, tell him point blank that they can be put to jail. Also be more discerning. Try to analyze if other people are simply joking around or already stepping on your shoes.

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