By Inaki Albano, HCDC Intern
DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Advocacy groups here will hold a parade dubbed as “Angels Walk for Autism” in a bid to promote public awareness about autism.
The city chapter of Autism Society Philippines (ASP) has partnered with the SM Cares, the shopping mall’s outreach program, to join the nationwide parade on Monday, January 14 starting at 1 pm in SM Lanang Premier.
The ASP said the event is free admission and urged all the participants to wear green colored shirts during the walk.
ASP Davao president, Uswaldo Parrenas, in a media forum on Friday, said that aside from creating awareness, the Angels Walk aims to help build an “Autism-OK Philippines” with “awareness to acceptance, accommodation, and appreciation to guide efforts and projects on public awareness and to create a difference.”
Febe Lybai Matthews, president of the Mobilization Action Group, pointed out that “people with autism continue to struggle to be part of the community” and the activity would be a conscious effort to welcome them.
As a parent having a child with autism, Matthews said that she shared the sentiments with other Filipino families with a member who has autism and pushed her to advocate the eradication of bullying against persons with autism.
“Bullying would only cause low self-esteem and will create a huge barrier within people not being able to understand what a person with autism is going through,” Matthews added.
Imelda Rendon, executive director of The Rainbow Intervention Center for Autism, told Davao Today in an interview that they are encouraging programs from private sectors and from the government to accommodate people with autism in schools, public places and even in the employment industry to widen doors for opportunity.
Autism is described as a behavioral condition that includes deficiencies in social, emotional and communication skills. More than one million Filipinos have autism, with a still unaccounted number with the disease.
National Autism Consciousness Week is commemorated every third week of January in the Philippines. (davaotoday.com)