ZAMBOANGA CITY, 19th July 2022 – Hundreds of persons with disabilities (PWDs) gathered yesterday at the KCC Mall de Zamboanga East Wing Activity Center to join the opening salvo of the 44th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week Celebration jointly organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the inter-agency Regional Council on Disability Affairs (RCDA).

This year’s NDPR Week is anchored on the theme “Pamahalaan Kabalikat sa Pagtupad ng Pantay na Edukasyon, Trabaho, at Kabuhayan, Tugon sa Pagpapalakas ng Taong may Kapansanan.

The celebration kick-started with a motorcade from Sucabon Street towards KCC Mall at 1:00 PM.

The opening program which promptly started at 2:30 PM featured messages from DOLE 9’s Assistant Regional Director Imelda F. Gatinao, DSWD Regional Director and RCDA Chairperson Atty. Sittie Raifah M. Pamaloy Hassan and Zamboanga City District 1 Councilor Jerome “Joey” Santos representing Mayor John Dalipe.

In a bid to inspire fellow PWDs, Jose Antonio M. Maraguinot, a visually impaired employee of DSWD’s Area Vocational Rehabilitation Center II (AVRC), shared his life story on how he struggled to be where he is now and how he achieved great feats such as finishing a Master’s Degree and landing a job in DSWD.

“Being a disabled person is not a hindrance to achieving our goals and dreams,” he said as he motivates participants into action.

To celebrate the festive affair, the RCDA prepared various activities for disabled persons such as raffle draw, free services on nail care, massage and haircut, a showcase of products made by PWDs and distribution of seeds for those who are into planting and farming.

To cater to concerns of the said sector, a One-Stop Shop of Services was also organized with the participation of various agencies namely Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Agriculture (DA), Occupational Safety and Health Center (OSHC), Employees Compensation Commission (ECC), Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board (RTWPB), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), Pag-Ibig HDMF, Social Security System (SSS), PhilHealth, Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) and the LGU of Zamboanga City.

The program concluded with a ribbon cutting ceremony and the declaration of the NDPR Week Opening led by Dr. Lenny Joy J. Rivera, ARD of Department of Health 9.

“As a proud member of the RCDA, we took it upon ourselves to give importance and joy to the members of the PWD sector. As an agency mandated to promote the welfare of workers, we have inclusive programs to cater to our “kababayans” who are PWDs,” said Atty. Roy L. Buenafe.

One such program is the DOLE Integrated Livelihood Program where one of the priority beneficiaries are PWDs. Through this program, beneficiaries are given Kabuhayan Starter Kits (KSK) or financial grants for group projects.

The celebration of NDRP Week will run from July 17-23, 2022. ###