Defrauding the SSS: Why must we be vigilant?

Stealing from the Social Security System fund is both immoral and illegal. We in the PWD community abhor acts by non-disabled people that maligned and conspire to defraud what is a very sacred fund religiously maintained by millions of hard-working Filipinos. More than 6 out of 10 people in the Philippine maintain contributions to the SSS fund and among those contribute, a large 80% do so without a choice as it is automatically deducted from their salaries. Continue reading

The Filipino attitude towards Autism Spectrum Disorder

Our radio show “the PWDPhil Hour” has had several guests and calls from listeners, many of them sharing their experiences through our segment #myPWDstory which is also available to them online through our Facebook page (http://facebook.com/PWDPhil)

One of the most eye-opening incidents on the show was when we were airing yesterday (Sept 24, 2017), one of our texters asked the question “… ang taong nasiraan ng ulo aksep po ba yan sa PWD autism din po ba yan…?” To me this question raised two points: One, is that the general attitude about mental disorders, the average Filipino will just chalk it up to “sira ulo” and all the other negative stereotypes that go with the label.

And two, that mental disorders are not considered as a medical condition by the average Filipino. Many Pinoys believe that mental disorders are conditions that the sufferers can just wake up one Jday and snap out of it. It is this belief that make the life of mental disorder sufferers and people with autism very difficult and almost impossible to endure.

Opportunities for school and work often available to non-disabled children are practically non-existent for children with autism. Most of the time they are left to the care of institutions, individuals and relatives, oftentimes considered a burden to both the state and the primary caretakers. We at the Organization for Pinoys with Disabilities Inc. do not believe this. Children with autism deserve treatment and understanding because they are, above all, children too, autism or not.

Filipinos must realize that “crazy people” are not that way by choice. This is the same with sufferers of autism. It is not something they have chosen to become or a result of bad parenting. It may be genetic but it may also be negligence on the part of the mother during her pregnancy. Those who have been known to have been heavily drinking, smoking or using recreational drugs during pregnancy are said to have offspring suffering from autism, cerebral palsy and other birth-borne conditions. During one of our radio shows, a gynecologist named Dr. Rebecca Singson reiterated the need for pregnant mothers to watch what they eat and stick to organic food, consciously avoiding processed food like hotdogs, cakes and the like as these can trigger a plethora of medical conditions that might adversely affect both mother and child.

Please do tune in to our radio program “the PWDPhil Hour” for more information on how you can help prevent such conditions for your child. If you are already the caregiver of a person with disabilities, do tune in and join the conversation so we can get you the help you need by guesting doctors, audiologists, psychiatrists and even developmental pediatricians. The PWDPhil Hour airs every Saturday and Sunday. 12:30 pm to 2:00 pm over DZRB 738 KHz AM Radyo Pilipinas 1.

DICT promotes Work-From-Home for Pinoys With Disabilities

DICT Assec and Chief of Staff Atty. Caloy Caliwara is seen here with NCDA Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga during a forum on work-from-home opportunities for PWDs. In this day and age where the Internet has efficiently shrunk the world, business processes can be done across the globe, simultaneously and without delay. Anyone with an Internet connection can work as someone else’s office assistant, distance not an issue. Continue reading

RA 10754 implemented on Dec 23, 2016

December 23, 2016 is the first day of implemention for RA 10754, the new law expanding the government benefits of persons with disabilities (PWD).  This means that all provisions of RA 9442, an update to the original RA 7277 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities, are maintained PLUS the following benefits: Continue reading

Uber Manila hires PWD drivers

Uber Manila yesterday launched a program that fully supports the giving of income generating opportunities to Pinoys with disabilities. Uber Manila’s program already includes certain partner-drivers who claim to be hard of hearing but not totally deaf. These drivers spoke to the media of the benefits of the income they have made from being a partner-driver using their own vehicles. Uber clearly identifies which drivers are disabled by showing a PWD icon on their profiles and it will be the choice of the passenger to ride with them or not.

Yes it’s a good move, but…

In 2009, the World Federation of the Deaf made a statement on the right of deaf to drive a car or any other vehicle.

screenshot-2016-10-14-121045

We at PWDPhil.com support this statement and that Pinoys with Disabilities should be given the right to drive a motor vehicle. While there have been no studies proving that deaf drivers are more prone to accidents than normal-hearing drivers, it has been well-established in many studies that sound is not a primary consideration when driving a motor vehicle. The most crucial sense to driving is the sense of sight and the sense of touch. While hearing can be complimentary, it is not as crucial as sight. That is why we can still drive safely even while the radio is at high volume. We also believe that many of our disabled brothers and sisters are already marginalized as it is and giving them opportunities for mobility would be more than welcome.

How is Uber Manila ready for the PWD partner-driver?

However, PWDs have rights too. Such as the VAT exemption, exemption from coding, premium and reserved parking space near ramps and building entrances and tax relief. How Uber Manila intends to address these issues and ensure that the deaf drivers are given their due, CEO Laurence Cua did not say. Yes, they have technologies that will assist the driver such as the Beethoven technology where calling is automatically disabled if you are trying to contact a PWD driver. There is also the question of protection for the PWD driver as many PWDs are subject to ridicule and humiliation. Uber Manila also made no mention of how they can protect their PWD partner-drivers during these instances. They did mention the need to educate riders on discriminating against a PWD driver, but there is also the rider’s right to choose, and that may be misconstrued as discrimination.  In my opinion, educating the public about the safety of riding with deaf drivers should have been done prior to the launching of this program to increase its acceptance by the public. Pushing something like this to the consumer without a prior education campaign may become the source of several issues. Though many Uber PWD drivers are lauded and given high ratings for their safe driving style, courtesy and good service, it will not save the deaf drivers from undereducated and abusive riders. Training the deaf drivers on how to handle such situations should be in place as well.

Is the program legal in the Philippines?

And there is the question of legality. In Europe and in the US, deaf drivers are allowed to drive commercial vehicles, such as buses, cabs and cargo trucks. While deaf drivers are given licenses to drive in the Philippines, a check with the Land Transportation Office confirmed that deaf drivers here are only given a Non-Professional driver’s license with the restriction code clearly mentioning which type of vehicle the deaf driver is allowed to drive and under which condition the deaf driver is licensed. The Land Transportation Office customer hotline mentioned that there is condition E which means the deaf driver is allowed to drive but only when accompanied by a person of normal hearing. Discrimination? Maybe, maybe not, but it is the law. Deaf drivers are NOT given Professional Driver’s Licenses.

So if the deaf driver’s main line of work is driving for pay, there could be a legal issue with this program by Uber Manila, because deaf drivers, by law, are not allowed to drive commercially.

What do you think?