THE SOCIAL PROBLEM
In the Philippines, the needs and issues of persons with disabilities remain invisible to the broader population and are largely unaddressed.With the immense barrier to communication and the lack of institutional support to address this deficiency in the Philippines, other graver issues concerning the deaf community have surfaced. A report by Lisa Martinez, PhD, founder of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center, cites several studies that show the high incidence of sexual abuse among deaf women and minors in the Philippines. One such statistic reports that 72% of deaf women in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are sexually abused or battered, with 63% abused by their own fathers.There have also been reports of sexual abuse and molestation occurring in some deaf residential schools, with teachers perpetuating the crime and administrators covering up for them. Further, there are no policies that set standards for interpreting in court proceedings involving the deaf.
Aggravating the lack of interpreter systems is the failure of the Philippines government to recognize Filipino Sign Language (FSL) of the Deaf, choosing instead Signing Exact English (SEE) which many advocates argue is not its own language, nor the mother tongue of Deaf Filipinos.
These issues only serve to demonstrate the needs for disabled people in the Phillippines. Being shaped by these issue and wanting to do something about them, through creative solutions such as participation of the disabled in sports and development, led a group of core volunteers to form Philippine Accessible Disability Services, Inc (PADS)
ABOUT THE INITIATIVE
PADS is an non-government organisation that works closely with various partners and stakeholders on programs to promote the causes of People with Disabilities (PWDs). PADS work for an inclusive and compassionate society where People with Disabilities (PWDs) can realize their full potential as equal partners in nation building. It also seeks to To serve in an advocacy arena where concerned individuals and institutions work together to promote the rights and entitlements, as well as issues and concerns, of PWDs. The nonprofit also seeks to empower PWDs to themselves act as advocates in the areas of inclusion.
As a model PADS continues to operate as a volunteering platform where national and international volunteers can be involved in promoting and realizing the rights and entitlements of the disability community.
PADS was a founding member of the Break The Silence (BTS) network, to advocate for child sexual abuse prevention. The network has helped uncover and expose the uncover and expose the widely ignored tragedy of sexual abuse against deaf children and women in the Philippines, which, according to the Deaf Resource Center affects approximately 70% of that group. The BTS networks are comprised of deaf and hearing impaired professionals: lawyers, police officers, paralegals and interpreters who are committed to helping the community have fair access to justice.
The PADS Adaptive Sports Program has opened opportunities; especially for people with disabilities to interact and engage with society. Through this initiative, PADS has been able to set standards in grassroots sports development for athletes with disabilities. PADS has hence been able to set a sports diplomacy phase by highlighting the rights and concerns of PWDs and has used sports as a key platform to raise issues relevant to the sector. PADS takes pride in the success of the PADS adaptive Dragonboat team, the first Filipino crossdisability Dragonboat team, which broke the barriers for sports participation through winning medals at international paradragon championships conducted in Hong Kong in 2017 and Thailand in 2019.
After getting to know the work of PADS, we can to support by sponsoring their Christmas Gala Nights in 2018 and 2019, while providing gifts to honor athletes at PADS.
We the generous help of our partner, Synergy Marine Group, we also helped also sponsored a run in association with PADS at Cebu City to help raise awareness
toward disability needs and adaptive sports, and also to raise funds. The Synergy PADS Half Marathon was held on 10 November, 2019 at Cebu City. Enthusiasts and supporters of PWDs
including the Vice Mayor of Cebu participated in the 21K & 3K deaf marathons, 3K crutch walk, 1K wheelchair & Blind- tandem race, to help create awareness about the inclusion of people with
disabilities and celebrate their uniqueness. About USD 6,000 was raised through the event.
Website : https://www.pads.org.ph/