Activity Report from Philippines
Activity Report of Life Haven
APNIL Meeting (January 7, 2010)
Life Haven was very busy last year on conducting seminars and workshops. PAVIC, an organization of parents of visually impaired children invited Life Haven last September, 2009 to talk about IL in their Advocacy & Leadership Training Workshop. For the first time, the parents listened to the philosophy of IL and how it can empower persons with disabilities and its benefit to the family of persons with disabilities.
Mr. Hisao Chiba of Nippon Foundation visited Life Haven last October, 2009 to learn more on each othersf programs and services. We talked about the mission of Nippon Foundation in the Asian region and the support they can extend to Asian DPOs. During this month, we also conducted a short peer counseling workshop for persons with disabilities in Valenzuela.
Last November 2009, we conducted an IL Orientation Seminar for National Council on Disability Affairs to enlighten the agency about the IL movement. The participants exhibited interest on the subject presented and enthusiasm during the discussion. During the seminar, we noted two points of interest. First, the IL philosophy was not fully understood at the beginning. However, questions raised during the presentation clarified the misunderstanding. Secondly, Personal Assistant was discussed profoundly from hiring, training and the roles and responsibilities of user and the personal assistant. Life Haven assisted Non-Handicapping Environment (NHE) project of JICA & NCDA. In collaboration with JICA, NCDA and ADPI, we introduced Peer Counseling to persons with disabilities in New Lucena, Iloilo. Thanks to Ms. Siew Chin of Beautiful Gate Foundation, she help convince the NHE team to utilize people from IL movement to empower persons with disabilities in their project area. Resource Persons of this workshop were Mr. Mark Espesor and other ADPI team and Mr. Abner Manlapaz. At first, we observed that most of the participants were diffident and abashed. As the organizers continue to observe the participants, we noted the changes that happened to them. Participants are more participative and smiling very often as compared on the first day that we met them.
On the last month of 2009, two more workshops were conducted. Both workshops are in the southern part of Philippines, in Mindanao. One workshop which is also under the NHE project of JICA and NCDA was held in Cagayan De Oro for persons with disabilities of Opol. Resource persons of this workshop were Dr. Ike Ampo and the HACI CDO IL team and Mr. Abner Manlapaz. The participants shown enthusiasm and were very lively during the workshop. Thanks to the team of resource speakers from HACI CDO IL team who are all so lively and interesting as the workshop is conducted in the local dialect. Another Peer Counseling Workshop, which was funded and organized by the Department of Social Welfare Office (DSWD) of Region XII thru Ms. Grace Balaro (the focal person of PWDs in Region XII) was held in Polomolok, South Cotabato. The Representative of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC?PWD Sector) Mr. Ricardo Castillon submitted the proposal to the focal person of Region XII to conduct peer counseling in their region. Ms. Balaro (the focal person), was inspired by the proposal and worked hard to get the budget to conduct peer counseling in their region. This is the first peer counseling workshop initiated by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The resource persons are Mr. Abner Manlapaz and Dr. Jun Bernandino. There are 14 participants from different places in Region XII, most of whom are group leaders. Towards the end of the three-day workshop there are encouraging feedbacks from the IL newbies. Ms. Grace Balaro, visitors from the area and from the local Government unit, and the participants themselves expressed their interest to have another workshop to learn more and improve their skills in conducting peer counseling. They are already even thinking of having a Trainor’s Training Seminar to make it possible for the Independent Living Movement to establish a foothold in Mindanao.
On another matter, we still continuously advocate to the City Engineering Office of Valenzuela to ensure implementation of accessibility in the built environment. Hopefully, the government will seriously implement the accessibility law.
Life Haven also received great news from Human Care Association that funds support to rent office for the center was approved. The funds which came from Toyota Foundation includes support for the salaries of staffs and personal assistant for selected persons with severe disabilities who wish to live independently.
Activity Report by Mr. Edwin De Villa
Our proposed ordinance to establish the Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office was approved last November 16, 2009 by the Sangguniang Bayan of San Juan, Batangas. Through this office I can now guarantee at least 1 Intensive Independent Living Workshop annually in our jurisdiction.
Last December 6, 2009, as part of the celebration of the province wide Ala-Eh festival and in relation to the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, The Provincial Social Welfare of Batangas conducted a forum on the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. We were briefly able to present the history and philosophy of Independent Living and the PSWD office and other Social Welfare Development officers from the towns of neighboring provinces expressed their interest in conducting an IL workshop for the members of the Provincial Federation of Persons With Disabilities.
Friends and colleagues initiated a support group for Persons with Disabilities driving their own vehicles. It is currently based in Cavite. They aim to assist anyone interested in driving to secure their license, registration and possible conversion. Members are encouraged to practice self choice, self determination and self responsibility. Some of them have heard of IL though never attended any workshop yet. With enough time and resources we are planning to hold a workshop in IL for this group as they plan to adopt the philosophy of IL in their own lives.
I believe that these events will strengthen the presence of the IL movement in region 4A especially in the provinces of Quezon, Batangas and Cavite.