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July 18, 2003

Listen to what the hearing-impaired are saying

From: Minda News, Philippines - Jul 18, 2003

Terry C. Betonio / MindaNews / 18 July 2003

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY -- Hazel Bual, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education degree at the Lourdes College, laments the fact that hearing-impaired persons like her are not given good employment breaks.

Through an interpreter, Bual said private companies are not willing to hire the deaf because of their condition.

The country is observing National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (July 17 to 23). This year’s theme is : “Dekada K4: Kamalayan, Karapatan at Kalayaan para sa taong may Kapansanan” (Decade K4: Awareness, Rights, Freedom for Persons With Disabilities).

“Government offices also don’t offer job opportunities for deaf individuals,” Bual said through sign language interpreted by Virginia Sulatan, a teacher for the hearing-impaired at the City Central School here.

Bual is the president of Christ Loves All the Deaf Inc. (CLADI), an organization of persons with hearing disabilities in Cagayan de Oro. It currently has 35 members.

She said lack of employment opportunities, good education, and specially-trained teachers and interpreters are among the many problems that the hearing-impaired persons encounter.

“The deaf themselves are scared and have low self-esteem. Parents hide their deaf children and use them as servants at home instead of educating them and training them to be independent and worthy individuals,” Bual said.

She said books are not available to educate all hearing-impaired people, especially those who can’t afford special education.

Ester Versoza, regional director of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), admitted they have no specific programs for the hearing-impaired like learning sign language.

“But we can help in referring them to the Department of Education for formal education,” she said.

However, she said the DSWD can offer self and social enhancement services to the deaf and to the other PWDs.

“We offer self employment assistance as long as the client has a skill on a particular project. We give capitalization and teach the client simple bookkeeping and management,” she said.

The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also provides training and livelihood assistance to PWDs.

Arlyn Bael, DOLE labor employment officer, said they are giving assistance PWDs through the Tulong Alalay sa mga Taong May Kapansanan (TULAY) program.

She said the program, which started in 1993, focuses on providing employment to PWDs by facilitating placements at private companies and giving of livelihood projects.

Bael said the DOLE was able to facilitate the placement of 78 PWDs to different private establishments for employment.

“Out of the 430 applicants, we were able to refer 138 PWDs to different private establishments and 78 have been accepted,” she said.

For the livelihood assistance, Bael said DOLE has implemented a total of 246 projects and generated 241 employment benefiting 550 PWDs.

A total of P1.859 million was released for the PWDs in Region 10.

“The projects for the PWDs depend on their capacity,” Bael said.

She added that there’s an ongoing massive registration of PWDs aged 15 years old and above who want to seek employment.

She called on groups or associations of PWDs to register with the DOLE so they could avail of financial and livelihood assistance.

© Copyright 2002 MindaNews