| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The greatest asset of PDAO is its capability of maximizing the learning potential of all center-based learners through its functional and contemporary approach in the implementation of its SERVICE FRAMEWORK FOR EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION, the only one of its kind in the Philippines.
Another outstanding asset is the creative and innovative way of mobilizing people to achieve a singular goal. The staff have been augmented by different stakeholders and parents who are likewise trained with the PDAO staff through countless seminars and workshops in disability detection and basic therapy.
Through the 4K or Kilusan Kabalikat ng may Kapansanan para sa Kinabukasan, an organization established by PDAO, linkages from various sectors namely; family, community, non-government organizations (NGOs), civic-minded individuals, scholars of Carmona, corporations, local and national government agencies were established and strengthened to safeguard its development and longevity.
Volunteer parents, receiving meager allowances from the barangay, act as monitoring agents that keep PDAO abreast of the condition of PWDs and the participation of their families in abiding by the requirements of various interventions. Parents are also encouraged to participate in PWDs livelihood program to open up opportunities to generate income and address the financial needs of the family.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Submitting to the mandate stipulated in the Republic Act 7272 of 1992 known as Magna Carta for the PWDs and the strong conviction of inclusive growth where nobody is left behind, this initiative is spearheaded by the local government unit from year 2000 up to present with support of the 4K organization or the Kilusan Kabalikat ng may Kapansanan para sa Kinabukasan and the PDOCCI or the Persons with Disability Organization of Carmona, Cavite Inc.
The implementing office, Carmona PDAO under the Office of the Mayor is clearly equipped with substantial technical know-how and concepts on how to detect; make diagnosis and referral in order to determine the necessary intervention needed. The Municipal Health Office, Department of Education, Public Employment Service Office and Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office serve as front liners in the delivery of basic services to the physically and mentally challenged member of the community.
Strong linkages from various stakeholders such as family, community, non-government organizations, civic society groups, professionals, national government agencies became working and lubricating dynamics of PDAO services that continue to touch the lives of 7,617 individuals representing over 10% of the Municipality's population. Formation, strengthening, and instituting people and community participation, capacity build-up and partnership with other groups were done to ensure smooth implementation of the program.
Currently, there are 167 center-based PWDs enrolled in special classes and 785 community-based PWDs; the majority of these 952 PWDs belong to low-income families with an average of 6 siblings. With average incomes of Php2,500.00 - Php6,500.00 per month, parents simply cannot afford the enrollment of their PWD children to private SPED Schools.
PDAO, through its “Your Embrace, My Hope” Program, helps parents of PWDs alleviate fears for the future and allows them to dare dream for their special children.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
To realize its commitment to be a PWD-friendly municipality, LGU Carmona established the Persons with Disability Affairs Office in September 2000. The construction of PDAO Learning Center which serves as second home for our PWDs was definitely a milestone for LGU. It paved the way for the birth, growth, and stability of PDAO's "Your Embrace, My Hope" Program.
The vision was supported by local policies and agenda upholding the rights and welfare of PWDs and the equalization of opportunities for children in Carmona, such as Local Development Plan for Children, Child and Youth Welfare Code, Annual Investment Plan for Children and State of the Children Report.
To establish a sustainable education and rehabilitation curriculum, consultants were hired to formulate the Service Framework for Education and Rehabilitation, with these components: 1.) Surveillance and Detection – PDAO staff, BHWs, and volunteers were trained and mobilized for PWD mapping; 2.) Diagnosis and Referral – developmental pediatricians, occupational and physical therapists, speech pathologists administer diagnosis; children are then endorsed to corresponding Educational and Rehabilitation Programs. 3.) Educational and Rehabilitation Programs – Early Intervention Programs, Special Education (SPED) Tutorials, Bridging Programs, Normalization Programs, Adaptive Skills Programs and Entrepreneurial Programs;
The total amount of services rendered for free like occupational, physical and speech therapies, assessment, education, school service, assistive devices and medicine based on monetary equivalence in private setting for SY 2016-2017 for the 167 center-based learners is approximately 17.6 Million Pesos. Because of PDAO's "Your Embrace, My Hope" Program, their families don’t have to generate money to send these children to private SPED centers outside Carmona.
For entrepreneurial programs, PDAO finances screening and training fees of each student, e.g. in Sheltered Workshops (structured work setting for developing good working behaviors and skills in the context of controlled but sustainable livelihood), total cost was Php775,200.00; in Livelihood Programs (semi-structured work setting for less-supervised work), it was Php 161,850.00.
Furthermore, LGU employs 34 personnel in PDAO. In 2016 alone, approximately 7Million was allocated for salary and wages and maintenance and other operating expenses. Construction of buildings and facilities is also financed, and donations from other stakeholders are outsourced.
To increase the capacity of PDAO personnel and families in addressing special needs of PWDs, LGU subsidizes their attendance to seminars and training. Continuous coordination with DepEd and National Council on Disability Affairs Office is conducted.
PDAO promotes family involvement in livelihood programs. Some parents work under PDAO enterprise Reciclar, manufacturing bags and furniture using paper-based technology, and in PDOCCI tofu-making.
PDAO facilitated the formation of people's community-based structure and involvement of private organizations as key players in enhancing program efficiency and strengthening advocacy:
1.) “Tatay Ko, Nanay Ko!” Program;
2.) Group Organization for Persons with Disabilities
3.) Kilusang Kabalikat ng may Kapansanan para sa Kinabukasan (4K);
4.) Local Committee on Disability Affairs (LCDA);
5.) Autism Society of the Philippines – Carmona Chapter;
6.) Persons with Disability Organization of Carmona Cavite Inc. (PDOCCI);
7.) LGU Clusters on Social Services – MHO, MSWD, PESO;
8.) Department of Education – School Administrators, Teachers, Students;
9.) Barangay Councils and CBR Volunteers;
10.) Carmona Business Club – Industries;
Innovations were initiated for program stability:
1.) Executive Order directing “Iskolar ng Bayan ng Carmona, Cavite” to render tutorial services and assistance in Mainstreaming Program;
2.) Compliance with Accessibility Law particularly in design and construction of new facilities;
3.) Classes on Sign Language for families of learners;
4.) Computer Literacy Training through the Technology for Economic Development (TECH4ED) Program;
5.) Active Home-School Collaboration;
7.) Acquisition of service vehicles and educational materials for the center;
8.) Conduct of summer classes and educational field trip;
9.) Registration of PWDs of legal age as voters
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The strategy was formulated and implemented at the initiative of the Local Government Unit of Carmona, through:
a.) its former Mayor, Atty. Roy Loyola,
b.) current Mayor, Dr. Dahlia Loyola,
d.) various LGU agencies for social services – MHO, MSWD and PESO,
f.) Ms. Rosebelle Mercurio and staff of PDAO,
g.) Mr. Archie David, OT Consultant,
h.) Dr. Joel Lazaro, DP,
i.) Dr. Maria Rochelle Pacifico, DP,
j.) Dr. Maria Theresa De Castro, DP,
k.) Dr. Ananias Gilbuena, Physical Physiatrist,
l.) Kristine Rae Balayo, OT,
m.) Ms. Kathy Reyes, Speech Therapy Consultant,
n.) Jonah Buwalan, Speech Aide and
o.) Groups and Partners who helped to make the strategy successful:
• Autism Society of the Philippines
• National Council on Disability Affairs
• Link Center for the Deaf
• Carmona Business Club Inc.
• Latter-Day Saints Charities Philippines
• Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc.
• ROHM Mechatech Phils
• On-Semiconductor Phils.
• Nidec Phils.
• Tomas and Betty De los Santos Foundation
• Carmona Water District
• Adaptive Technology for Rehabilitation, Integration and Empowerment of the Visually Impaired (ATRIEV)
• St. Therese, The Little Flower Sign Language Center
• Leonard Cheshire Disability Philippines Foundation Inc. (LCDPFI)
• Victory Christian Fellowship Church
• Iskolar ng Bayan ng Carmona, Cavite
• Liliane Foundation
• Resources for Blind Inc.
• General Emilio Aguinaldo Medical Hospital
• Rotary Club of Carmona
• Provincial Government of Cavite
• Taiwanese Chamber of the Philippines
• Busan Cheong Ryoung Lions Club
• Hamlin Industrial Corp.
• Rotary Club of Geo Chang
• Hearing Aid Ear Take Care Center
• Norfil Foundation
• Gruppo Medico International Inc
• Phil Bond of Mercy Foundation
• PAGCOR Tagaytay
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The five most successful outputs of PDAO’s “Your Embrace, My Hope” Program are centered on the provision of a better and more normal life for persons with disabilities. From the shy unacknowledged members of society, PWDs have blossomed into useful and important members of the community.
First, the program has provided much-needed services that give equal care and recognition to PWD children as their normal counterparts in terms of health and education. They are afforded special education at no cost, which otherwise was impossible if they had to rely on very expensive private SPED schools. In fact, the PDAO has ensured their class attendance through the procurement of two service vehicles that transit PWD enrollees from home to school and back. The PWDs also undergo medical check-ups and assessments yearly to ascertain they are qualified to move to the next level of their intervention program.
Second, through the establishment of 4K and PDOCCI, PDAO has ensured the responsible participation of parents and siblings in the progress of the PWDs’ intervention. Whereas before, family members often hid the PWD in their homes due to shame and fear of the community’s rejection, now the PWDs are acknowledged as equally important members of the community with rights and protection provided by law.
Third, the community has become more compassionate of the challenges faced by PWDs and their limitations. This is envisaged in their participation in the activities of the PWDs such as appreciation for their presentations, parades, patronizing of products made by the PWDs and protection.
Fourth, more people and organizations have become partners of PDAO in its efforts to sustain the program. Donations in service, in kind and in monetary value have kept the program more responsive to the needs of the growing PWD population under the care and tutelage of the office.
Fifth, and perhaps the most important output of the program is the empowerment of the PWDs who have realized the extent of their capabilities and the benefits afforded by the government. Through independence, they can enjoy life to its fullest and become happier members of the society. The inclusion of their families in the program through livelihood programs has assured them of a better home life. The practice of their voting rights gives them a voice in the management by government of their small yet important sector. Moreover, provision of job opportunities gives them confidence in facing the future.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
First, when the program started in 2000 there was the problem with the facilities wherein the students will be housed for their classes and tutorials. The LGU worked with the Department of Education to be able to temporarily use one classroom inside the elementary school. Eventually, because of the importance of the program, the LGU was able to subsequently appropriate funds for the building of its own structure and livelihood center where 4K and PDOCCI projects were housed.
Second, there was great reluctance from parents to enroll their PWD children to the program of the LGU due to financial, mobility and time constraints. To address this, the office provided vehicles that will transport the PWDs from home to school and back. Also, through the creation of organizations for parents and PWDs, the government was able to convince parents that the program was free and that their only contribution was to participate in activities needed for the interventions.
Third, there was a question of manpower and competent staff. The office is understaffed at the onset of the program, so the LGU offered scholarship grant to teachers and municipal employees to pursue special education class. Volunteer organizations were encouraged to help in the operations and an executive order was issued mandating all scholars of the LGU to render tutorial assistance in the center. Continuous attendance to seminars and training were also given.
Fourth, the prevalence of poverty in the homes of the PWDs was a stumbling block in the desire of PDAO to give their clients a better life. This was solved by the office by initiating livelihood programs for the parents, siblings and the PWDs. Today, through the 4K and PDOCCI, the parents generate income through the making of bags, paper mache, tofu, adobo peanuts, peanut butter, rags, etc.