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PIA Press Release

Capiz organizes councils for elderly, disabled

by A. Lumaque

Roxas City (9 October) -- A provincial council for the elderly and Persons With Disabilities (PWD) has been established in Capiz to help uplift the rights and welfare of the senior citizens and disabled sectors.

Also, a Sangguniang Panlalawigan committee for the elderly and PWD was created to promote the cause of the senior citizens and PWD sectors provincewide through policy and legislative actions.

The creation of the council and committee for the elderly and PWD was initiated by Sangguniang Panlalawigan member Esteban Evan Contreras II in a privilege speech during the province's legislative council regular session in August.

Incidentally, Contreras is the SP committee chairperson and the provincial council vice-chairperson for the elderly and PWD.

The provincial initiative to further strengthen the government programs for the welfare of disabled Capiceños is in time with the government's transfer of the National Council for the Welfare of Disabled Persons (NCWDP) from the Department of Social Welfare and Development to the Office of the President (OP).

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has ordered the transfer "upon the recommendation of non-government organizations (NGOs) concerned with intellectual disabilities."

The President issued the order upon her arrival from a five-day visit to China and India to affirm her administration's commitment to be regionally and globally engaged -- politically, economically and diplomatically.

Shortly after her arrival in China, the first stop of her two-nation swing, the President witnessed the opening of the Special Olympics World Summer Games 2007 at the Shanghai Stadium.

Lovely Romulo, the wife of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo, will be the chair of the Council, while Mateo Lee, a person with disability, will be the executive director.

DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral "shall continue to oversee the Council in my behalf," she added.

Chief Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol and the Presidential Management Staff were directed to prepare the appropriate documents to effect the changes.

The President also announced that Dr. Timothy Kennedy Shriver, Special Olympics chair, "offered to raise foundation money to support special education for Filipino children with intellectual disabilities."

"We accepted his offer," she said, adding that the Philippine government's counterpart commitment was to build a school building to house the special education programs.

"China's hosting of the Special Olympics world games and the Global Policy Summit on the wellbeing of persons with intellectual disabilities gave us the opportunity to network for that sector in our society," she said. (PIA) [top]

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