“Just 1: PWD Day” job, trade and scholarship fair for differently-abled persons gets multi-stakeholder support

“The DOLE also celebrates Labor Day for differently-abled persons, also called persons with disabilities (PWDs), and not just for formal sector and informal sector workers. Some differently-abled persons are also workers who need social protection.”

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz emphatically stated this yesterday after DOLE-National Capital Region (DOLE-NCR) Regional Director Alex Avila reported that the DOLE-led job, trade, and scholarship fair for PWDs held last 2 May at SM Fairview in Quezon City had successfully cobbled up multi-stakeholder support that bodes well for PWDs and encourages the regional office to plan a bigger celebration next year.

“On 2 May, DOLE-NCR through the Quezon City Field Office had gathered 14 employers in the job fair and 235 PWD job applicants. This was a bright note in the 2014 Labor Day celebration,” Avila reported.

What was remarkable, according to the DOLE regional chief, was the support the job, trade and scholarship fair elicited from several multi-sectoral partners, namely,  Bigay Buhay Multi-Purpose Cooperative; Office of Congressman Alfred Vargas; United States Agency for International Development (USAID); People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP); Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Philippine Association of Local Service Contractors (PALSCON); Diocese of Novaliches; SM City CARES; Department of Education; Technical Education and Skills Development Authority; Department of Science and Technology; Social Security System; and PhilHealth.

Ronald Abello, BBMC project coordinator, said the one-day event gave PWDs the opportunity to find employment, explore livelihood options, and showcase their talents and skills.

Fr. Nonnette Legaspi, parish priest of the Christ the King Filinvest II Parish, said the event’s trade and scholarship component allowed PWDs with existing small businesses to display and sell their crafts, and others to continue their education through the DepEd’s Alternative Learning System and TESDA’s vocational and technical courses.

“This was the first time in 23 years of the BBMC’s existence that it had conducted a job, trade and scholarship fair,” said Richard Arcenio, the differently-abled BBMC general manager observed. “We were able to help PWDs and at the same time, we had a platform to mount our advocacy that hopefully will lead others to recognize PWDs’ strengths and abilities,” he added.

Assistant Secretary Gloria Tango, head of the DOLE’s Worker’s Welfare, Social Protection and Internal Affairs Cluster, expressed appreciation to the BBMC for the event. Highlighting the importance of social protection for members of the vulnerable sector, such as PWDs, she said that the DOLE implements the Tulong Alalay para sa Taong may Kapansanan (TULAY) which PWDs can access to achieve decent employment and to improve their lives.

On his part, Rep. Alfred Vargas of the 5th District of Quezon City pledged continuous livelihood opportunities to help PWDs through his PWD Office. Vargas has filed a bill in Congress entitled, ‘PWD Economic Independence Act’, that strengthens the economic rights of PWDs.

END/ Katrina P. Laurente/Emmanuelle Xriz F. Atil

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