A Walk to Freedom

Article excerpt

The word "freedom" is used so often in our everyday lives − from political speeches to advertisements − that it's easy to think of it as having lost all meaning.

But for the country's PWDs (persons with disability), freedom is something they struggle for on a daily basis. Whether it's freedom from poverty, discrimination, or teasing and bullying, the country's PWDs have to fight the good fight every single day.

That's why it's only fitting that a celebration of the unity of PWDs and the people who support them be dubbed the "Freedom Walk." Held last month at the Bonifacio Global City, the Freedom Walk involved government agencies, non-government organizations, and PWD support groups.

The government agencies include the National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA), the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Philippine Information Agency, the Department of Transportation and Communication, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the House of Representatives Committee on Social Services, the Department of Health, the National Anti-Poverty Commission, the Department of Interior and Local Government, and the Metro Manila D

For the non-government organizations, those taking part were Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy (AKAP-Pinoy), the Philippine Academy on Rehab Medicine, the New Vois Association of the Philippines, the Philippine Federation for the Rehabilitation of the Disabled, the Philippine Association of Citizens with Developmental and Learning Disabilities, the Autism Society of the Philippines, the Philippine Blind Union, as well as the SM Disability Affairs Program.

BIGGER AND BIGGER

The idea for the Freedom Walk was first conceptualized in 2011, when a group of PWD leaders met and planned for an Independence Day celebration with PWDs. It took a technical working committee, spearheaded by AKAP-Pinoy, three months to organize the event.

The decision to call it Freedom Walk came about mainly because the organizers wanted to hold the event in June.

"The event is dubbed the 'Freedom Walk' as a way for the PWD sector to celebrate Philippine Independence Day. This is also an expression of their desire to be free from shackles of discrimination, inequalities and poverty," explains Capt. …