A Blind Architect_The Vision of a Non-Handicapping EnvironmentMay 22, 2009
Finally! My latest film is now over.
Entitled “A Blind Architect: The Vision of a Non-Handicapping Environment,” the film produced by Asia-Pacific Development Center Foundation (APCD) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) was made in collaboration with the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), United Architects of the Philippines (UAP) Committee on Accessibility and JICA Philippines.
Very short in duration (13.46 min) compared with my own personal advocacy films (usually feature-length), it nevertheless required from me the same amount of effort, commitment and involvement. Working at it was no different too from my own since I have worked with the same people in my previous SO production— 3 Js Janus Victoria, Joseph Leña and Jojo Sia, Jr. The major difference being that I had to contend with stakeholders which took me longer time than usual as I had to wait for a collective decision before I could move on.
The film is about the background history of the Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) movement in the Philippines, with a time span covering 1997 to 2008. Arch. Jaime “Jimmy” Silva, a good and inspiring gentleman who became blind at the peak of architectural design career is the film catalyst. Turning blind because of glaucoma, he also turned into an NHE advocate in the process by making known to those involved with the built environment how important accessibility is to those with physical disability. It was a realization he only came to know when he became blind.
“Networking” as in the words of Arch. Jimmy is what I have “earned” in the process of making this film. It was really great to have met many other people who are dedicated and sincere in trying to make the society change their attitude towards the PWD sector by starting to effect a change on the built environment through enforcement of Batas Pambansa (BP 344) which had been around since 1983 but remains not fully implemented or taken for granted. I am right to say that my advocacy is not a lonely one.
If before I was only conscious in targeting the change of attitude towards the PWDs, now, the NHE concept has added a new dimension in my knowledge which had given me a more rounded idea about their needs. New terms are added in my memory bank— “access audits and talkshops,” “non-PWDs” instead of “abled” persons; and new concept and ideas— “barrier-free environment,” “rights-based concept,” “story-based knowledge management” strongly registered in my consciousness.
New people along the road were encounted as the APCD Staff —consisting of Japanese and Thai people; Arch. Jimmy and his deputy Arch. Armand Eustaquio from UAP, Ms. Gigi Ruiz and her staff from NCDA, the JICA staff and from SM, their staff working on disability affairs. I would like to make special mention of Ryuhei Sano, Noriko Fort, Naoko Ito and Daisuke Sagiya from APCD and JICA Phil.—people I directly worked with for months. Enthusiastic and very passionate in their work, their spirit has helped to pump up added energy in me to realize the film.
Above all, I acknowledge that without help or spiritual upliftment from above and from Mama Mary of Manaoag, making this film would not be as it has been. Or, would have been much more difficult for me.