Bongat, Sergio lead PWDs’ event in SM
The local government unit here “will remain receptive to the concerns of persons with disabilities as in the past when it laid down the mechanisms that help provide the sector with opportunity to achieve economic development.”
This is the gist of Mayor John Bongat’s message before a crowd of persons with disabilities (PWDs) as he gave emphasis on the local government’s effort in mainstreaming PWDs and providing the sector with opportunities to achieve economic development.
Speaking at the celebration of the 34th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week last July 23, this year, at SM City Naga, Bongat said that the alliance between the city government and PWDs towards achieving a better life will elicit positive results because many of the physically challenged individuals are “talented and hardworking.”
Bongat said 2% of the city’s economic development fund has been earmarked for programs and projects intended for PWDs whom City Councilor Nathan Sergio referred to as the most marginalized sector of society.
Sergio, a 2011 Filipino with Disability of the Year awardee, said the city government’s effort to create more opportunities for PWDs is highly consequential in this time of economic crisis where unemployment and underemployment are high.
Under Bongat’s administration, the PWDs are encouraged to engage in various entrepreneurial undertakings thru the Barangay Growing Opportunities for Wealth (GrOW) Negosyo project, his centerpiece program on livelihood in the barangays.
The production of a database on vision-impaired individuals is also one of the major undertakings under Mayor Bongat’s administration that aims to provide economic development for PWDs.
The purpose of database, which contains evaluated and identified skills, proficiency and capabilities of visually challenged individuals, is to serve as reference in providing employment to PWDs like the Naga City Visually Impaired Association (NACIVIA) which is headed by Joseph Cultivo, who was given the authority to run a therapeutic massage parlor in Plaza Rizal, here.
Sergio, who was in the forefront of setting up the Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) years before the DILG issued a memorandum circular to LGUs for the establishment of the same in their respective areas, said the city government is also working with other public entities and non-government organizations to synergize and pursue undertakings for the benefit and welfare of PWDs.
Engr. Christian Wesley Villanueva, SM City Naga mall manager, said Sergio and SM City Naga were awarded by President Aquino the Disabled Filipino of the Year and Most Disabled-Friendly Establishment, respectively, during the 26th Apolinario Mabini Awards held at Heroes Hall in Malacañang on October 24, last year.
Villanueva said SM City Naga was given the award for its PWD-friendly pathways, parking areas, drinking fountains and many other facilities inside the mall which are exclusively for PWD use only.