By Philippine News Agency
Persons with disabilities (PWDs) here are seeking the aid of city officials in obtaining free PhilHealth insurance as many of them cannot afford to pay the minimum voluntary contributions.
Crispin Patrimonio, president of the PWD Federation in Dumaguete, the provincial capital of Negros Oriental, reiterated on Wednesday that the primary concern of the PWDs is their health because they are more vulnerable to illnesses due to their disabilities.
“Kaming mga PWDs prone gyud kaayo sa mga gipamati sa kalawasan (We PWDs are more prone to health issues),” Patrimonio, who is also the barangay chairman of Barangay Bajumpandan, said.
He said there are close to 1,000 PWDs duly registered in Dumaguete City, based on the registration and issuance of PWD identification cards by the City Social Welfare and Development Office.
Although the city government has been attending to many of their concerns, Patrimonio highlighted the need for PhilHealth insurance, especially for the PWDs who are not enrolled in the government’s Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Project or 4Ps.
“Mao kini ang gihandom karon sa mga PWDs nga makakuha ug PhilHealth (This is what PWDs are hoping for, that we can obtain PhilHealth insurance),” he said.
Patrimonio disclosed that he will bring the matter to Mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo this week, as the city government is spearheading the celebration here of the 40th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week from July 17 to 24.
Meanwhile, Fr. Christian Benjamin, who heads the Office on PWDs of the Social Action Commission of the Diocese of Dumaguete, encouraged the public to show respect and love to the disabled.
“Bisan naa silay kapansanan, kinanglan usab sila ug respeto. Ikaduha, ang paghigugma kanila. Ug ang katapusan, ang paghatag nato ug equality, (Even with their disabilities, these people still need respect. Secondly, they need love. And finally, they need to be treated with equality),” he said.
Fr. Benjamin, who is a sign-language interpreter and a prime mover of D.A.V.I.D., an association of deaf volunteers and interpreters in the Diocese of Dumaguete, celebrated mass Tuesday afternoon to signal the start of the week-long National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation celebration.
Having worked with PWDs for 16 years, even before he became a priest, Fr. Benjamin has devoted most of his time in championing the rights of PWDs.