Posts Tagged ‘PWDs’


For Bringing Issues and Concerns of PWDs to Light through the Medium of Film

September 10, 2017

dsc_0087-e1504584195787.jpgThat’s what’s etched on the plaque of appreciation handed by De La Salle-College of St. Benilde’s School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies last August 30 when I attended their lunch treat supposedly meant for their partners during their 25 years of existence.


Me [second from right] in between Febe Sevilla who received the award for TV5 interpreting and Dean Veronica “Nicky” Templo of SDEAS who gave a touching closing remark.


Quite unexpected from an institution whose people I have worked with for 11 years now — from the time I studied Filipino Sign Language to learn and understand their concerns. I also met Yeye Dominguez, wife of my grandnephew, Mayor Angelo Dominguez of Castillejos, Zambales for supporting annual Deaf seminars led by SDEAS staff — both hearing and Deaf. It is usually being held during their school break, an activity we actually started some years back with Giselle Montero, and when Mackie Calbay was still around and connected with SDEAS.

[For more info about the event, click:


Nominations for the 2017 Apolinario Mabini Awards has been extended to April 30

March 16, 2017

Nominations for the 2017 Apolinario Mabini Awards has been extended to April 30, 2017.  Categories for nomination are:  Presidential A. Mabini Award, Person With Disability (PWD) of the Year, PWD Group of the Year, Local Government Unit of the Year, Rehabilitation Volunteer/Group of the Year (Volunteer/Group Advocate for the Empowerment of PWDs of the Year), Employer of the Year, PWD Friendly Establishment (deadline March 31, 2017), PWD Media Advocate of the Year, and the Website Accessibility Award. Anyone can nominate individuals or groups to any category provided they meet the criteria.

The Mabini Awards, named after one of the country’s foremost hero,  Apolinario Mabini, recognizes individuals, groups and/or agencies that have made outstanding contributions to improve the welfare of Persons With Disability.   The award is inspired by Mabini’s creative genius that provided inspiration to the Philippine revolution.

The Award is spearheaded by the Philippine Foundation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled  (PFRD), the oldest non-government organization in the Philippines  to address needs of Persons with Disability.

The awards will be presented in July 2017  in Malacanang Palace. The exact date will be announced later.

Please visit  for more information and to download forms.

You may also call Liza  at (632) 725-0093 or email for more information.


Walking with Nameless and Countless Angels with Autism

February 16, 2017

February 5, Sunday. The annual gathering of Autism Advocates and Angels with Autism was held once again at Mall of Asia in Pasay  City in celebration of the 2017 Autism Consciousness Month. It should have been held in January but with the holding of the Miss Universe Pageant at the same place where the program had to be done, the event moved to February.

I was there for the nth time to witness the ever-growing number of people joining the event each year. I focused my camera on ordinary people, on those without whose presence and support, the activity would not be that awesome and meaningful. From far and wide they excitedly came, and heeded the call to be there in solidarity with the advocacy of Autism Society Philippines. Even Persons with Disability [PWDs] joined the special celebration.

The 2017 Angels Walk for Autism


Community Educational Program

April 18, 2016

Last Friday on April 15, I was appointed Community Educational Program Head while at the same time serving as member of the Board of Trustees of Gawad Metronian Educational Foundation, Inc. [GMEFI]. My task is to take care of the Foundation’s network with other organizations and institutions with regards the implementation of its Community Fund Assistance Program. It aims to serve the community first and foremost.

My suggestion to include Persons with Disability [PWD] as recipients of the scholarship for either high school or college student has been welcomed. Most PWDs I know of belong to the poor, and indigent sector. In my experience, some of them exhibit exceptional intelligence which should be helped nurtured. I am just waiting for the finalization of the list of requirements for them.


Pres. Aquino Signs Into Law the Bill Exempting PWDs from 12% VAT

March 30, 2016

[This is a repost from]

More than a million disabled Filipinos will finally enjoy tax exemptions at par with the perks granted to senior citizens, maximizing the benefits that they deserve under the law.

President Aquino has signed into law a bill authored by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez granting persons with disabilities (PWDs) exemption from the 12-percent value-added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services.


Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez Gives a Thumbs Up after Congress Approved his Bill Exempting PWDs from the 12% VAT on Top of Their 20% Discount on Goods and Services

The President signed Republic Act No. 10754 granting VAT exemption benefits to persons with disabilities last March 24,  Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said he had been informed yesterday.

“From the bottom of my   heart, I thank the President for signing this very important measure into law. This is a compassionate measure aimed at helping the plight of the PWD sector,” Romualdez said in a statement yesterday.

The bill was ratified in the House and Senate last December and transmitted to Malacañang on March 2.

Read more:


Congress urged to submit PWD bill to Malacañang

March 2, 2016

This is a repost from the Philippine Star, article by Paolo Romero published last Monday, February 29.

Groups of persons with disabilities yesterday appealed to the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives to immediately transmit to Malacañang the bill that exempts PWDs from the 12 percent value-added tax (VAT) on certain goods and services.


Photo by Mirana [SM Arena – Angel’s Walk for Autism 2016]

Manuel Agcaoili, president of Tahanang Walang Hagdanan Inc., and Emer Rojas, Cancer Alleviation Network on Care Education and Rehabilitation (Cancer) party-list nominee, made the appeal amid rumors that both chambers are sitting on the bill as President Aquino is not keen on signing the measure.

Authored by Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto and Leyte Rep. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez, the bill seeks to amend Section 32 of Republic Act 7277, otherwise known as the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability as amended by RA 9442.

The law grants 20 percent discount to PWDs on certain goods and services but the reduction is diluted since they are not exempt from VAT.

“Speaker (Feliciano) Belmonte and Senate President (Franklin) Drilon have signed the measure and this should have been transmitted to Malacañang. We would like to know once and for all if the President will sign or veto it,” Agcaoili said.

He claimed there are almost 10 million PWDs in the country but the Philippine Statistics Authority only pegged the number at less than 1.5 million.

The PWD measure will address the discrimination in this sector where they would be on equal footing with senior citizens who are also exempt from VAT on top of their 20 percent discount.

“PWDs belong to the most deprived and vulnerable sector. The VAT exemption shall mean a lot, especially to those buying medicines and getting medication. Diseases like cancer and heart disease entail so much medical cost. We need that,” Rojas said.


“Before this film, kulang ang alam ko about Mabini. Now I understand.”

August 19, 2015


The Blind Architect, Jaime Silva with Febe Sevilla, hearing interpreter. [Grabbed frame from The Sublime Paralytic; Segment on Mabini disability]

“...Mas naintindihan ko yung hirap ni Mabini as a writer, the policies that he did for the government para alam natin yung magiging direksyon ng Pilipinas, and the problems na hinurdle nya with his disability…Hindi rason yung kanyang disability, his love for [the] nation, his love for what he is doing was really something that the nation benefited from. Before this film, kulang ang alam ko about Mabini. Now I understand. Ni hindi ko alam na naexile pala sya sa Guam. These are some things that I’ve learned ngayon sa aking napanood,” says Architect Jaime Silva after “watching”, rather listening to the story of Mabini as my documentary, Apolinario Mabini: The Sublime Paralytic screened last Friday, August 14. A special preview was held at the Department of Foreign Affairs as part of their 2015 Post Celebration of NDPR Week. Arch. Silva is United Architect of the Philippines Chair on Disability Affairs. Known as THE BLIND ARCHITECT, he is the subject of a 14-min documentary with the same title that I made for APCD, JICA, NCDA and the UAP.

Interviewed for The Sublime Paralytic, Architect Silva talks about the discrimination Mabini must have experienced as a Persons with Disability [PWD]. The only difference then and now, he said was the fact that during Mabini’s time, there were no assistive technologies for PWDs and there was no law that protected the rights of PWDs. The Philippine Accessibility Law was enacted only in 1983, or 87 years after Mabini contracted paralysis in 1896.

A segment on disability matters and the causes of Mabini’s paralysis forms an important part of the film. The latest findings of Dr. Jiggs Gilera contests the pronouncements in the 80s that polio was the cause of Mabini’s paralysis. Guillain Barre-Syndrome [GBS] he says caused it. Incidentally, the reader of El Verdadero Decalogo / Ang Tunay na 10 Utos, Abner Manlapaz was crippled by GBS at the age of 16.

PREMIERE Showing on August 27, 2015 at DLS-CSB ARG Theater, 5th floor, 4 pm. Taft Campus, Manila. Contact DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies for more information.

Apolinario Mabini: The Sublime Paralytic’s Filipino-narrated version, PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon is now in post-production. Mabini was the Chief Adviser of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, First President of the Philippine Republic [1898] and his First Secretary of Foreign Affairs [1899].


“The Sublime Paralytic” in Tanauan

July 21, 2015
POSTER FINAL_Final-Jul 17_2

One of our film posters; The docu is about the First Prime Minister and First Secretary of Foreign Affairs of the First Philippine Republic

It is July. In Tanauan City, Batangas Province, the celebrations of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week which culminates on July 23, birthday of Apolinario Mabini, subject of my current documentary is very well observed. Despite the declaration of July 17 as a national holiday, the people of Tanauan proceeded with their scheduled event. We went there to preview the docu. Ms. Pelagia Mabini and another kaanak watched the film. Despite the busy schedule, the accommodating curator of the shrine Ms. Olga Palacay, who was also interviewed for the docu managed to see the segment where she is in. Responses were quite positive.

photo 1

Scene on the way to Mabini Shrine in Talaga, Tanauan Batangas – July 17 – a PWD Race

photo 2

They were actually coming from the grounds of Mabini Shrine, in Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas, our destination…


…Where my docu “Apolinario Mabini: The Sublime Paralytic” was previewed for them


Guests Line up to Register


Tanauan Film Viewers in the Audio-Visual Room of the Mabini Shrine-Tanauan


These three ladies were victims of polio. They came all the way from Cainta to celebrate with the PWDs of Tanauan.


A PWD is being Readied for the Duyan Race


The People Manning the Event; Shrine Curator, Ms. Olga Palacay [Standing 2nd from Right]


Mga ka-field trip and members of the production team: [Front]: Janus Victoria, co-writer; Febe Sevilla – Filipino Sign Language interpreter, and Bert de Santos – Sound Designer

The first two shots were taken by Janus Victoria; the photo below by Bert de Santos; I shot the photos in between them.


While testing the sound and picture projection…Ms. Pelagia Mabini, 3rd generation descendant of Apolinario Mabini in blue blouse looks on


Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move_Men on Wheelchair

May 9, 2015

Literally, on the Move — these two people are miles away –Manila and New York City — yet they surely share and practice the philosophy of independent living… They do not confine themselves in the comfort of their homes, nor in their shells. Afterall, they are part of us, and should be treated like anyone else in an enabling society.

On the Move 2

This is Abner Manlapaz. I first met him in an Indignation rally of Persons with Disability [PWD] demanding the government to respect the rights due to them. He is the President of Independent Living Foundation. He is one of the participants in the docu that I am currently doing on Apolinario Mabini, our hero who himself was a PWD. Mabini was the Prime Minister, First Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Chief Adviser of Emilio Aguinaldo, the First President of the Philippine Republic in 1898. This photo was shot at Mall of Asia, Pasay City in Metro Manila where Autism Walk was held a couple of years back.

On the Move

I do not know this man. But he caught my attention because in the crowd, he was the only one going around on wheelchair. And since I advocate for PWDs, I felt quite happy for him because he could move like anyone else around him. This was shot in Times Square St., New York City.

Great coincidence!!! I just realized now that aside from being on wheelchairs, look at what they are wearing! Red t-shirt and blue jeans; both wear eyeglasses, and their heads?? Aren’t they nearly the same?

The Non-Handicapping Environment is a must in all places in the world. Here in our country, NHE has been introduced but the idea should ripple around, especially in Southeast Asia where PWDs should be given as much importance, priority and equality as any of the so-called abled individuals. They should be given opportunities, chances to prove their ability and capacity, and the right to co-exist with others.


World report on disability

December 11, 2010

The World report on disability will be launched on 9 June 2011. Mandated by the World Health Assembly Resolution 58.23, and jointly published by WHO and the World Bank, the World report summarizes the best available scientific evidence on disability and makes recommendations for action to support the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006)…

The World report on disability addresses the need for better research and data on disability. It will include the first update of WHO’s disability prevalence estimates for more than thirty years. The Report also explores evidence about discrimination and barriers, identifies needs and provides an analysis of what works to improve the lives of people with disabilities in the areas of health, rehabilitation, support services, information, infrastructure, transportation, education and employment.

To read the complete article, please click the following link: en

In this connection, I would like to share with you the email sent to me last week by Noriko Saito of JICA incidentally forwarded to her by McLeod-MacKenzie, Rachel Zaria <>:

“On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December, preparations begin for the launch of the World Report on Disability on 9 June 2011 in Geneva.  This major report, published jointly with the World Bank, provides evidence on the current situation of people with disabilities, and identifies ways of removing barriers to the participation of people with disabilities in their communities.

We want to hear from people with disabilities about what can be done to overcome barriers. To start the debate, we asked Faustina Urassa, a woman with disabilities from Tanzania, “What’s disability to you?”

See what she told us at or at the World Report website,

Sign up at the World Health Organization Facebook page to join the debate and receive regular updates on the global and country launches of the World Report.  Facebook will be our main channel for disability dialogue.  In the months ahead, we will post three more films, featuring women with disabilities from Lebanon, United Kingdom, and Bolivia.

In the run up to the launch, we welcome your photographs, stories and short films on the theme “This is disability to me.” Please share the news with your disability community, and ask them to join ours.