The Person with Disabilities (PWD) Federation of Bataraza will establish the first PWD cooperative in Palawan with the assistance of Coral Bay Nickel Corporation (CBNC).
Federation president Isagani Valerio said Friday they initially allowed two to three officers from each of the 22 barangays of Bataraza to undergo a pre-registration seminar conducted by the Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) as a pre-requisite in forming a cooperative.
“Ang target namin ay consumers’ cooperative to cater the basic needs ng bawat PWD at saka ‘yong kanilang pamilya. Dito lang muna sa munisipyo, ang aming target as a cooperative with CBNC na makapagpatayo kami ng isang consumers’ store sa Bataraza town center, magri-request kami kay mayor (Abraham Ibba) ng vacant space,” he said.
Valerio said that the federation envisions to spread out the cooperative to each barangay as satellite cooperatives if the operation will succeed in the next two to three years.
The federation was formally established in 2015 and has 700 PWD registered members.
Valerio said that the federation has already submitted a proposal for educational assistance for PWD children who are still studying under education and information planning. They also plan to set up an hour radio program per week to provide awareness on the rights and privileges of PWD members.
This move, according to Valerio, would help to enlighten both the members and the community to lessen the bullying and increase respect towards each other.
“Panahon na para mabigyan sila ng awareness sa prohibition at penalties patungkol doon. Meron din tayong proposed livelihood. Sa ngayon, ang samahan namin ay duly acknowledged na ng local government unit at the accredited civil association. Pero dito, hindi pa rin maiwasan ang pambu-bully lalo na sa school,” he said.
In response to reports of bullying, the federation also proposed to establish a Special Education (SpEd) school for children with disabilities with some local education officials of the Department of Education (DepEd) and with the help of the Information and Education Campaign program of CBNC.
Assistance of CBNC
Valerio said that the assistance and support extended by CBNC also boosted their morale to establish the first PWD-run cooperative in the province. Aside from this, Valerio shared that CBNC also provided assisted devices such as canes, walkers, and wheelchairs amounting to P100,000.
This also includes ICT equipment to enhance the online registration of PWDs in the municipality of Bataraza which is mandatory for them to be registered to PhilHealth.
“Isa rin sa nagbibigay sa amin ng lakas ng loob ay itong private sector na hiningian namin ng kaunting tulong, financially, technically, and sa pag-boost ng morale namin. Patungkol sa assisted device needs namin ay nakatulong sila katulad ng walker, cane. Kasama na rin ang wi-fi na ginagamit sa ngayon para sa online registration sa Department of Health na mandatory,” he said.
Meanwhile, Sanggunian board member and CBNC community relations general supervisor Laurence Amores said that the P20,000 assistance of the company is for pre-registration seminar and pre-membership education seminar expenses of the PWD federation in Bataraza.
The establishment of a cooperative for PWD federation is in cooperation with CDA, Municipal Cooperative Development Office (MCDO) of Bataraza, and CBNC, he added.
“Ang objective talaga namin ay mapalakas sila, na-inspire kami rito sa nangyaring pandemya at sunod-sunod na mga bagyo. Nakita namin na hirap ‘yong sektor so isa ‘yan sa mga (assistance) namin. Last month nag-provide din kami ng assisted devices sa kanila. Noong kinakausap na namin sila dahil attached na rin kami sa federation, sunod naman nila ay kung pwede ba sila ma-assist sa pag-organize as cooperative,” he said.
Amores said that CBNC is also thinking of ways to strengthen the sector and provide them opportunities they could use in their daily lives.
“Gusto rin talaga namin na maging independent sila katulad ng objective ng isang kooperatiba na manggaling talaga sa kanila ‘yong susunod na mga gawain, ‘yong effort ba para maging matagumpay,” Amores said.
Fortunately, the federation reached its target number of initial members which is 35 PWD officials from 22 barangays of Bataraza. Amores expressed his hope that the federation will be registered under CDA before the year ends.
“Kanina nagbigay ng kaunting information si Ms. Anne (Marian Concepcion) ng CDA na kung sakaling ma-comply lahat ng requirements, within December or before the year ends ay ma-register na sila as PWD cooperative. Ang maganda pa rito, consumers’ cooperative ang gusto nila pasukin na mas makakatugon sa mga miyembro, enterprise na kung saan ‘yong basic goods ay ‘yon din ang ibibenta nila,” he said.
Amores added that CBNC also plans to include interventions of the company to help the federation in inter-barangay mobilization as part of Annual Social Development and Management Program (ASDMP) 2021.
“Gusto namin na kung paano namin sila matutulungan, in a way na makapag-communicate yong federation among members sa inter-barangay. Iniisip namin na magkaroon ng radio program in partnership with IEC group ng CBNC ComRel (community relations) para makapag-educate ng rights, benefits at iba pang concern na may kinalaman sa kanila,” he said.