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For Immediate Release
In line with its goal to promote broad-based and inclusive growth in the Philippines, the U.S. Embassy Manila’s United States Agency for International Development in partnership with the Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative (BBMC) held a “Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Day” in SM City Fairview, Quezon City.
The event was a Job-Trade-Scholarship Fair that featured more than 50 exhibit booths from various government agencies, business establishments, development partners and charitable organizations. Supported by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), the Office of District Representative Alfred Vargas, SM Cares and the Diocese of Novaliches, the event provided assistance and services to PWDs to increase their prospects for employment or readiness to start their own income-generating activities.
USAID/Philippines Deputy Mission Director Reed Aeschliman said, “The U.S. Government is pleased to work with other PWD champions in providing opportunities for PWDs to gain economic rights and become productive members of the community.”
The event was part of USAID’s Php12.8 million “Support the Employment and Livelihood of Persons with Disabilities (SELP)” project, which aims to reduce poverty and exclusion of PWD in the Philippines through improved access to gainful employment and livelihood opportunities.
The PWD Day was capped with the awarding of the “Opportunities Fund” to five self-help groups and ten PWD. The fund supports PWDs in jumpstarting and expanding their respective income generating activities.
Mr. Ricardo Baticos is one of the ten PWDs awardees. Mr. Baticos used to work as a construction worker to support his three children until he met an unfortunate accident. Despite his disability, Mr. Baticos continued to look for alternative sources of income and ventured in the “Kalan”-making (biomass cooking stoves) business. USAID’s “Opportunities Fund” will help support the expansion of Mr. Baticos’ business.
“Hindi lamang trabaho para kumita ang nais ng may kapansanan, kundi dignidad at magkaroon ng kabuluhan sa buhay, (PWDs want to be respected and make sense of their lives, hence their desire to work and be active contributors to the society)” Mr. Richard Arceno of BBMC said.
“We need to work alongside PWDs to help improve their lives and respect their right to work and their right to choose their work. For growth to be truly inclusive, education, job and livelihood opportunities should be made available to everyone, including persons with disabilities,” Deputy Director Aeschliman said.
The American people, through the United States Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for over 50 years. In the Philippines, USAID works in partnership with the national government in creating a more stable, prosperous and well-governed country through programs that foster sustainable and inclusive growth, strengthen governance and combat corruption, improve access to water, energy, health and education services, increase environmental resilience and natural resource management capabilities. For more information, visit http://www.usaid.gov/philippines or contact USAID/Philippines Development Outreach and Communications via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Bigay Buhay Multipurpose Cooperative
BBMC is the first disabled people organization in the Philippines founded in 1991 whose mission is to provide livelihood and employment opportunities for people with disabilities (PWD) and to raise awareness on disability through active participation in community activities. Since 1991 BBMC has been providing gainful employment to people with disabilities and their families thru community-based livelihood. These economic activities have led towards greater social participation of the PWD and the community. For more information about the SELP Project, please contact Project Manager Richard Arceno at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Last updated: January 22, 2015