ILOILO – True to its mission to help the poor and marginalized, ten persons with disabilities (PWDs) were provided with scholarship here by the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office.
The scholars were the pioneer batch of the provincial government’s special scholarship program for PWDs as mandated by 2013 Persons with Disability Ordinance authored by Provincial Board Member June Mondejar.
The PWDs who were given the opportunity to pursue their desired college degrees in any government-owned and operated universities in the province were the following:
*Aiza May Agnes of San Rafael
* Sanny Basog of Lemery
* Rena Catunao of Dingle
*Iris Laureen Cipe of Mina
*Rem Jude De La Cruz of Balasan
*Britz Dionson of Lemery
*Liezel Ann Factis of San Joaquin
*Joseph Jordan Jr. of Dumangas
*Jay R Segura of Lambunao
*Junmar Villanueva of Pavia
Determined by the Provincial Monitoring and Coordination Board, these scholars decided to take courses related to Education, Computer Science, and Industrial Technology.
They were presently enrolled in Northern Iloilo Polytechnic State College, Iloilo State College of Fisheries, West Visayas State University, and Iloilo Science and Technology University.
According to Persons with Disability Affairs Officer Mario Abaygar, 15 PWDs were supposed to compose the first batch of scholars but the five who passed the screening withdrew from the program and chose to work instead.
Abaygar stressed that the program gives PWDs equal access to free and accessible education in order for them to compete favorably for available opportunities in the future.
“This is for the improvement of their well-being and their integration into the mainstream society,” Mario said.
PWDs refer to persons having any restriction or lack of ability resulting from impairment to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being.
Impairments associated with disabilities may be physical, mental, or sensory motor impairment such as partial or total blindness, low vision, partial or total deafness, oral defect, having only one hand/no hands, one leg/no legs, mild or severe cerebral palsy, retarded, mentally ill, mental retardation and multiple impairment.
Section 12 of RA 7277 of the Magna Carta for Disable Persons provides that the State shall ensure that PWD are provided with access to quality education and ample opportunities to develop their skills and make such education accessible to all disabled persons
Section 13 of the same law provides that the state shall provide financial assistance to economically marginalized but deserving disabled students pursuing post-secondary or tertiary education.