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November 13, 2005

Nation Celebrates 'Deaf Awareness Week'

From: Philippine Headline News, Philippines - Nov 13, 2005

MANILA, November 13, 2005 (STAR) The nation is giving tribute to all hearing impaired and deaf persons through the celebration of "Deaf Awareness Week," starting today and ending on Nov. 16.

This year's Deaf Awareness Week is under the joint auspices of the Link Center for the Deaf Inc., National Youth Commission, Department of Social Welfare and Development, National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP), Metro Manila Federation of Agencies for the Deaf Inc. and other national government agencies and non-government organizations.

This is an annual event that provides fitting recognition to all persons who are afflicted with hearing impairments as provided for under Proclamation No. 829 issued on Nov. 8, 1991.

This year's theme "Isang Tinig, Isang Pintig" (One Heart, One Voice) emphasizes unity and understanding among hearing and hearing-impaired people, according to the NCWDP.

To highlight the celebration, various activities will be undertaken such as a sportsfest, medical missions, quiz games, cultural shows, art workshops, free hearing tests, leadership training for the deaf, and tree planting.

Social Welfare Secretary Luwalhati Pablo will be the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony to be held at SM City-San Lazaro in Sta. Cruz, Manila. She will be joined by other government officials and students from different schools for Deaf persons.

Part of the activities for the kick-off day includes a video presentation of Better Hearing Philippines and a talk show/panel discussion among doctors, teachers, counselors and deaf individuals focusing on various concerns of the sector of hearing impaired.

With the issuance of Proclamation No. 829 by President Aquino declaring Nov. 10 to 16 as Deaf Awareness Week, the country's Deaf sector has been transformed into a vigorous and cohesive group of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Statutes relating to the rights of PWDs have been enacted such as the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons although it has yet to be implemented effectively, NCWDP noted.

According to the group, "equalization to opportunities call for the hearing impaired persons to be treated as normal beings."

"To equalize the deaf people and the hearing people, access to communications should be given to them. One good example is for the hearing people to learn sign language so they can connect to deaf people and ease their eventual integration into the mainstream of the society," it said.

"If we, the hearing people, can interact properly with the deaf people it will help them to be productive citizens and become more socially skilled. One heart, one voice should be the ultimate goal for everyone," NCWDP added.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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