A Blind Architect_The Vision of a Non-Handicapping Environment

May 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.



  1. Hi! I am a student from UP Manila. We are supporting the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week. This year’s theme is “Sa istrakturang accessible, lahat ay able.”

    May I know where to get concrete information on what really are the accessibility issues the PWDs experience? probably personal stories of these issues..

    We would be conducting an activity that will help the awareness of the students in our campus about these issues.

    Thanks a lot and God bless!

    Hoping to receive a reply. =)

  2. Wish you attended this morning’s PWDs Indignation Rally! For sure you could have met and gotten all the information that you need from them. Persons with autism, visually impaired, orthopedically impaired, the Deaf, CPs, those with polio, even those with cancer attended. They trooped to the Office of the Commission of Human Rights to give the OCR Commissioners the list of their grievances, mostly centering on the partial or non-implementation of the Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons and BP344 (the Philippine Accessibility Law). You may read my last post [PWD Indignation Rally dated July 17] for some links leading to the issue. A few TV networks were there to cover the event so you’ll most probably see them on Youtube if you miss seeing them tonight.

    Anyway, you may contact Abner Manlapaz who led the rally this morning [ABNER MANLAPAZ (Orthopedically Handicapped) Pinagbuklod Bagong Pag-asa Association, Inc. (PBSAI) 2189 M. De Leon St., Fortune Village 2, GTDL, Valenzuela City 4569819 / 0918-5022618 halfmachine71@yahoo.com

    Mr. Lauro Purcil who works at DepEd [LAURO PURCIL (Visually Impaired), ATRIEV, 7-C Aguinaldo St., Proj. 4, Q.C., 9131374 / 6321361 0916-2320223]

    and Mr. Ranil Sorongon, Executive Director of Autism Society Philippines [9298447 /9266941]. He is a current member of the PWD Sectoral Council and he can lead you to the right persons.

    If you want me to show to your class A BLIND ARCHITECT, the 14 min-film that I produced for APCD that touches on the PWD Accessibility Issues, it will surely serve as a good backgrounder. You’d learn and be aware of some of the personal experiences of the physically impaired. Don’t worry! Libre basta kayo!!!

  3. Good day! is there any way to contact Arch. Jaime Silva? We are from Federation of Philippine Photographers Foundation, Inc. In case you can call us at 524-7576; 528-0371. Thanks!

  4. Sure! Will search for his number then, will contact you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: