Philippine Census Leaves PWD Count

I count myself as one of those who affirmed with the sentiments of the disability council. MCCID was one of the fortunate places where the National Statistics Office handed over a census questionnaire. I personally read the form and was very disappointed that there was no question there about the number of PWDs residing in the school campus/dormitories.

The situation is truly lamentable because the Philippine government merely guesses the number of PWDs. That is why the services provided for their welfare are very inadequate. Census is very important because this is the basis on how the government will spend the people’s money. When are we going to learn?

Sticker posted by NSO at MCCID premises after getting the result of the questionnaire they provided.

You may view the original article on this link.

Census leaves out PWDs, angers disability council

Philippine Star


Cebu Pacific Airlines, the Filipino Deaf and Me

Me giving the lecture
My Presentation about “Deaf and Travel Sensitivity Seminar”.

Last Wednesday (January 21), I was one of the invited resource speakers of Cebu Pacific Airlines. I have never imagined that I would be doing it! You see, I did many blog posts highlighting their blunders and blatant disregard about the welfare of Persons With Disabilities most especially the Filipino Deaf.

"Nothing about us without us". So I invited my uber-talented deaf protege Moises Libot to be my tandem.
“Nothing about us without us”. So I invited my uber-talented deaf protege Moises Libot to be my tandem.

To refresh everyone’s memory, I made my first blog post about them in April of 2008 when

“Cebu Pacific Airlines refused to board ten deaf passengers on a flight to the world renowned Boracay Island. All ten were already seated inside the plane, when the crew told them to disembark, citing their policy that blind and deaf passengers had to be properly accompanied in order to be treated as regular passengers. If unaccompanied, “he/she may be accepted for carriage provided he/she can take care of himself/herself on the ground and in-flight.”

You may read the entire post here.

Then I made a series of posts about Cebu Pacific’s blatant disrespect on the rights of those with physical impairments here, here and here. Former Senator now Secretary of Department of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas made a letter seeking for inquiry about this matter. Other bloggers even picked up this incident by creating a stir within the community. I also made a post analysis about considering deaf people as flight risk .

In fairness to the company, they already made policy changes addressing the incident even months after the said incident. But this has been done after the case was filed by the PWD groups. I have no update about the status of the case. Their Guest Services Officer Mr. Ivan Gaw made a reply about this situation. It’s a pity I wasn’t able to meet him during my talk. The participants informed me that he attended the first day seminar.

Program content and front cover where my name was included as one of the speakers.

Seven years later, I haven’t heard any more discrimination incidents. I guess the company has learned its lesson and really made many concrete changes regarding fair treatment for all passengers especially those with special needs.

When the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) invited me to handle the sensitivity seminar for the deaf, flashbacks of those old wounds again went back to my mind. During those days, I was really hoping that the company would invite me to explain to them the needs of deaf people. But sadly I wasn’t given the opportunity…. until now.

Entitled “Demo-Workshop on Handling Persons With Disabilities who Travel”, I was one of those chosen by NCDA to give a lecture about the deaf sector. They also had speakers for persons who are orthopedically impaired, visually impaired and those with intellectual disability. The participants were a good mix of supervisors, officers and policy makers.

When asked about the urgency in conducting the seminar, one of them replied that this was part of the company’s fulfillment of international requirement for their long-haul flights especially in the US where they will be servicing for the first time.

Part of my lecture was discussion about the challenges of deaf travelers which are:

  • Deaf people can’t hear announcements and emergency or special attentions.
  • Deaf people can’t make telephone call reservations or follow ups.
  • Most airline TV monitors and on-board screens don’t have captions or inset interpreting.

Now, how do the deaf people handle these obstacles? Here is what I said:

  • Deaf people can travel without a sign language interpreter!
  • Deaf people can read!
  • Deaf people can communicate through writing.
  • Deaf people are very sensitive to other people’s body movements and gestures.

In other words, “Deaf people can survive all by themselves!!!!”

I even gave them my wish list of having inset sign language interpreter explaining their safety procedures. In their part, they said that most Cebu Pacific fleets are smaller crafts and don’t have monitors. However, they are considering my suggestions once they acquire air crafts with on-board screens.

My wish list of Airline Safety Procedure explained in sign language.


I believe that conducting sensitivity seminars like this is step in the right direction. However, what I want for the company to do is to embrace a culture change and not just to comply with international requirements. That way every in-flight service crew, airline pilots and even those who prepare the on-board meals would always consider the needs of everyone including those with physical disabilities. 🙂

At last, a National SL Interpeters group will soon rise!

Wow! This is exciting! Sign language interpreters have bonded together and will now be one step closer in forming a national organization. This is truly a dream come true!

PAIDE's Jun Celada and CAP's May Andrada
PAIDE's Jun Celada and CAP's May Andrada

Nearly fifty hearing interpreters as well as deaf clients and relay interpreters trooped to the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) Office last January 21 to participate in the discussions and deliberations on how to establish a national body that will care for the needs and professionalizing sign language interpreters. Seeing all the seasoned and very dedicated interpreters come together under one roof is really a great sight to behold. 🙂

For the first time, the two well-organized interpreters association; the pioneer Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRID) and the equally dedicated Philippine Association of Interpreters for Deaf Empowerment (PAIDE), participated in this gathering. PAIDE President Alfredo “Jun” Celada Jr. was there to organize and facilitate the discussions while PRID volunteer Ma’am Beth Go gave her full support.

Prominent schools for the deaf were also very much represented because their top honchos attended. This is also the first time after nearly a decade where major college for the deaf in Metro Manila were together. Aside from yours truly and Sir Ervin Reyes representing MCCID, DLS-CSB‘s Dean Techie Dela Torre and Nicky Templo-Perez with Ms. Tess Buenaventura and Ms. Febe Sevilla, CAP College’s Ma’am May Andrada and Sir Julius Andrada and MC-SAID’s Ma’am Carol Ui were all there. Philippine Deaf Resource Center’s Dr. Lisa Martinez was also there and gave her very tangible suggestions and so with UP College of Education and my best buddy Dr. Therese Bustos. 🙂

My former boss Ms. Joy Cristal was the documentor while former MCCID faculty and now a public school teacher Jay Lardizabal was the sign language interpreter aside from Ma’am May Andrada. There were also some from the deaf community who showed their support headed by Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Raquel Estiller-Corpuz and Raffy Domingo.

Connecting the provinces through Skype
Connecting the provinces through Skype

Even people from the provinces were not left out, at least in Davao City, where PDRC’s Naty Natividad and six of her colleagues participated through Skype. I volunteered to use my MacBook in order to video conference with them. The video relay was unreliable so voice call and chat was utilized.

Interpreters all!

What made this occasion truly memorable to me is that I was able to meet my long time friends and colleagues in the ministry of interpreting for the deaf. I saw my former PRID classmate Cris Gaytos, my former SL teacher Ma’am Annie Blanca who is now holding a high position in the Department of Education, my idol in assisting abused deaf children Ma’am Liway Caldito and of course, my first sign language teacher who really pushed me into plunging into this wonderful world of the deaf, Ma’am Sonia Lodado.

Tagaytay Brainstormers
Tagaytay Brainstormers

To give you a brief backgrounder, this gathering came about during the 22nd World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia-Pacific Conference held last November 2010 where the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) group had a meeting. WASLI officials encouraged the Philippine delegation to organize a national body that will represent the country in an international forum and also to professionalize the SL interpreting career. PAIDE’s Jun Celada and Michael Potian, CAP’s May Andrada, PDRC’s Naty Natividad NCDA’s Ruth Tacujan and myself had a brainstorming and came up with a decision of holding a general assembly to discuss how to organize a national group in order to strengthen and protect the interpreting profession.

Sl interpreting has been in existence in the Philippines since Philippine School for the Deaf was established in 1907. But until now, no group has ever been formed to promote the welfare and professionalize the interpreting career. There are extremely few full time interpreters around because most of us have other work either as teachers or school administrators.

I won’t be mentioning in detail what has transpired during the January 21 meeting. But what I can say is that this is only the beginning of a very bright future. Small core groups were formed and they will tentatively meet at the College of St. Benilde next February 4. 🙂

Yay! First 120,000 Visits!

Facebook Pages Logos in front of Jojo's Facebook Profile Snapshot in blur.

Cheers!!!! My blog has reached its first 120,000 visitors since I started blogging actively in April 2008! 🙂

Actually my blog already reached the 120,000th mark a week ago. I wasn’t paying much attention to it since I am too much pre-occupied with the main culprit, Facebook! I visit my Facebook profile every time I’m connected to the Internet. The last time I posted something here was nearly three weeks ago, while my Facebook wall post is updated almost daily! tsk tsk tsk

Blogging and posting on Facebook wall are entirely different bananas. You need to spend a longer time composing a blog, while thinking a wall post will only consume around two minutes or so. Blogging entails a more detailed and insightful research on the topic. Since my blog is about deafness, deaf and their culture; I cannot deviate much from it. Inasmuch as I want to include issues from my other loves like web designing, Christian living and music, I am compelled not to post something about them simply because I will be “out of topic”.

Talking about Facebook stats; I already have 513 friends. Nearly a third of that are from my Social City buddies. The rest are my MCCID deaf students, alumni and friends. I’m also surprised that my V. Mapa High School classmates were able to track me down! I already have 20 friends from way back the time of Xanadu’s “Magic”, Air Supply’s “All Out of Love”, Irene Cara’s “Fame” and John Lennon’s “Just like Starting Over”. Yah! John Lennon was still alive when I finished high school! 🙂

I already created four Fan Pages in Facebook. The first one was for our college for the deaf, the second one was for Liliane Foundation Philippines, while the third one was for the first Filipino Sign Language Font which can be downloaded and installed for FREE. The latest is for our Philippine Web Accessibility Group.

Among the four pages, our college for the deaf topped with 855 likes with 319 active users. It is in this Page where I posted some very important announcements concerning the school. This is followed by Filipino Sign Language Font which has 606 likes and 92 active users. Incidentally, the FSL Font has already been downloaded more than 1500 times as of today, thanks to Facebook. Liliane Foundation Philippines has 54 likes with 30 monthly active users. Philippine Web Accessibility Group now has 50 likes with 48 active users.

One great feature of WordPress is its ability to track down the number of visits from your other WordPress designed sites using the same built in API keys. You can also use this for their equally neat Akismet spam blocking plugin. Based on this I was able to know the number of visitors from the following WordPress sites of:

My blog now has 222 posts with 583 comments and 512 tags. My top referrer is still now followed closely by Facebook. Thank you very much my dear readers, whether you are hearing or deaf! Now, on to my first 140,000th visitors! 🙂

Philippine President Signed Program for Disabled Persons in Every Province, Cities and Municipalities

Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed Republic Act 10070, a law establishing the institutional mechanism to ensure the implementation of programs and services for persons with disabilities (PWDs) in every province, city and municipality, as envisioned by RA 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

The law, signed last April 6, promotes the creation of organizations of PWDs in their respective territorial jurisdictions. National agencies and local government units may enter into joint ventures with organizations or associations of PWDs to explore livelihood opportunities and other undertakings that shall enhance the health, physical fitness and economic and social well-being of PWDs.

The law mandates the creation of Persons with Disability Affairs Office [PDAO] in every province, city and municipality with the local chief executive appointing a PWD affairs officer to manage and oversee the operations of the office. Priority shall be given to a qualified PWD to head and man the office in carrying out the following functions:

  1. Formulate and implement policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs in coordination with concerned national and local government agencies.
  2. Coordinate the implementation of this Act, Batas Pambansa Blg. 344 or the Accessibility Law and other relevant laws at the local level.
  3. Represent PWDs in meetings of local development councils and other special bodies.
  4. Recommend and enjoin the participation of NGOs and people’s organizations (POs) in the implementation of
    disability-related laws and policies.
  5. Gather and compile relevant data on PWDs in their localities.
  6. Disseminate information including programs and activities for PWDs, statistics on PWDs, including children with disability and training and employment opportunities for PWDs.
  7. Submit reports to the office of the local chief executive on the implementation of programs and services for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs in their respective areas of jurisdiction.
  8. Ensure that the policies, plans and programs for the promotion of the welfare of PWDs are funded by both the national and local government.
  9. Monitor fundraising activities being conducted for the benefit of PWDs.
  10. Seek donations in cash or kind from local or foreign donors to implement an approved work plan for PWDs in accordance with existing laws and regulations.
  11. Perform such other functions as may be necessary for the promotion and protection of the welfare of PWDs.

Within three years from the effectivity of this Act, appropriate agencies headed by the Department of Social Welfare and Development, in consultation with the National Council on Disability Affairs and other relevant NGOs and POs shall review the implementation and recommend to Congress the need to mandate the establishment of a PDAO in 4th, 5th and 6th class municipalities.

The national government, through the DSWD, shall ensure that the annual budget includes provisions to fund programs and provide support to PWDs. Local governments shall ensure that the necessary funds from any available local revenue are allocated for the implementation of this Act for the benefit of PWDs.

This very important law for PWDs did not create any buzz in the national arena. This might be because the people are more focused on the last elections. However, this will be very exciting for us because the local government units will not take us for granted anymore. They must create their own special office which caters purely on the needs and assistance for Persons With Disabilities. I hope that this won’t be just another flash in a pan.

Please read related articles here and here.

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