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Driving Force

December 31, 2009

2009 lasts today. In reflection, I have asked myself: what have kept me going? what have really driven me to carry on with my “advocacy-cines” despite little help and financial difficulties to produce them?

It was in October 2003 or six years ago when I started making “Alyana—A Study of Autism in the Philippines.” I finished it after two-and-a-half years in 2006. Surprisingly, the momentum it had built in me to continue in pursuing the film path centering on “special people” has been maintained, my interest in the subject constant, and has become stronger through the years. One of the solid reasons that has kept me going, and has driven me to carry on with what I have started is a representative reaction such as the one below:

Former Autism Society President, Cagayan de Oro Chapter president Cynthia Bella wrote the note at the back of the photograph (below). It was handed to me before I left CDO for Manila after the screening of Alyana at SM CDO.

Cynthia with eldest son Paco in front of Autism Society Philippines_Cagayan De Oro City Chapter exhibit

I have witnessed the fact that wherever I went with my films, many positive reactions were said not only about Alyana but also about “Silent Odyssey,” my journey into the Deaf world [made in one-a-half-years], and “A Blind Architect” [a sponsored film]. I’ve done only a few films but I have seen how those few have lightened many heavy and grieving hearts and gave hope to many family members of the affected and afflicted groups. Those reactions are the forces that push me  further on…

I hope that in the coming year 2010, I would be able to accomplish my target to finish the film on the Cerebral Palsied that I have started doing, with the hope of  replicating the same reactions that would be favorable to this group of individuals who need as much understanding and awareness by the society.

Meanwhile, the Autism Society shall celebrate the annual Autism Consciousness Week which is slated every third week of January. For the event that grows bigger and bigger each year, one truth is clear: the Philippine society is really becoming more and more conscious of the reality with regards the existence of the so-called “special group” who should be welcomed by everyone as part of one and the same planet Earth, and therefore should be treated equally with respect— their Being. There’s no stopping on the growth of ASP clan I know, for as long as parents and families of persons with autism continue to support and advocate for their cause, for as long as PWAs themselves continue to be part of this society by being seen, and be around people who are ignorant of who they are, for as long as the ASP Board of Trustees are as committed to the cause.

With regards the Deaf group, the recent solidification of 7 different Deaf organizations into one, baptized as Deaf Pinoy Kaleidoscope was an excellent way toward further Deaf empowerment. Aiming at a goal that would strengthen themselves is a sure way to help no one else but themselves. Always relying on the hearing to decide for themselves would not help in advancing their cause fast. They should really be the one to move aiming at the goal[s] that they would decide. Being with them as one of the hearing advisers, the Deaf Development Center is I believe the one that will answer all the other dreams that they hope for. I also hope that the story of Philippine Association of the Deaf would inspire the Deaf. They should be aware of its history.

It’s only six years since I have dedicated my time and effort to advocate for these groups…but those years have become for me, most meaningful and fulfilling. I hope to pursue with God’s grace whatever His assignments are to me this coming year, and the years to come.

Happy New Year to All! And for a fully PWD-friendly society to come, I pray!!!

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