Butuan City – The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) joined the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) celebration on December 3, 2013 at Goat2geder Hotel and Restaurant.

PWDs Presidents in this region attended the activity and series of orientation and workshop were conducted.

With the workshop of Jenny Mae F. Bersabal, Psychology II, “Let your inner-self talk,” the participants were able to assess themselves and identify their needs.

To educate the people, to strengthen the PWDs in all cities, municipalities and provincial levels and to empower women and girls with disabilities, were the objectives of the program.

Protective Services Unit (PSU)/Institutional Development Division (IDD) Chief, Angelita B. Amista, welcomed the participants cheerfully and expressed her happiness upon seeing the attendees. “I encourage everyone to form an organization of PWDs in your own places for you to be recognized. You should have a strong coordination with your Municipal Social Welfare Development Officers (MSWDOs) to lobby your needs so that our partner agencies will help you in providing social protection programs like skills training for livelihood; access to transportation and communication; and education for children with disabilities,” Amista said.

Regional Focal Person of Senior Citizen and Persons with Disabilities, Wilma B. Geralla discussed and expounded the 10 Goals of Incheon Strategy which are the following: to reduce poverty and enhance work and employment prospects; participation in political processes and decision making; access to physical environment, public transportation, knowledge, information and communication; education of children with disabilities; gender equality and women’s empowerment, ensure disability –inclusive disaster risk reduction and management and advance sub-regional, regional and inter-regional cooperation.

Rev. Fr. Rudy A. Ibale of Immaculate Conception Parish gave an encouragement message, the latter, boosted the self-esteem of the participants. “Despite your physical conditions, it is not a hindrance to achieve your dreams in life and to grow and bloom in the field you have chosen,” Fr. Ibale said.

Moreover, orientation on the roles of women with disability in the society was also done by Marieta S. Jandayan, City Federation President of PWD, President in Butuan Association of PWD (BAPWD), President Women with disabilities Group Butuan Chapter, Council Member in National Anti-poverty Commission (NAPC) PWD sector Caraga region, Board of Governor Katipunan ng may Kapansanan sa Pilipinas Inc. (KAMPI) Caraga region. “Because women with disabilities are prone to discrimination, I want the society to realize that we should be treated equally. I encourage everyone to come out and speak for our rights,” Jandayan expressed.

Participants were enlightened and privileged to have their resource speaker, the Regional Director Marilyn Pintor of Commission on Human Rights as she discussed the Rights of Women. “Women with disabilities should make choices, take up opportunities and live independently as we can. Sports can help reduce the stigma and discrimination associated with disability, transforms community attitude about PWDs by highlighting their skills and reducing the tendency to see the disability instead of the persons,” Dir. Pintor pointed out.

Other speakers were Rev. Fr. Rex Cassion, Dr. Renato Jose Villanueva, Rehabilitation Medicine Caraga Physiatrist M.J. Santos Hospital, Sharon S. Oha,Registered Nurse and Ma. Euville V. Mejias, SPED Teacher.

The activity was successfully conducted through the help of the City Social Welfare and Development Office, Butuan City in support of City Mayor Ferdinand Amante, Jr, and other private individuals.

“Even though I am disabled, I am still thankful to God for His blessings. My family is my inspiration that’s why I strive hard to provide their needs,” Pablo Manding, PWD President of Barobo, Surigao del Sur, shared.

### Social Marketing Unit/Maria Cecilia N. Sosas.