LGU empowers persons with autism through employment

“He could quickly pick up whatever I teach him,” he said. “Now, he can troubleshoot computers, though I still need to guide him.”

“[But] if I compare him with the others, I’m more motivated to teach him because he is very focused. There are some who may be know about computers but they are too stubborn or lazy to keep on learning,” he also said.

Licensing officer Teresa Laurora, who acts as Jomari’s immediate supervisor, flashed a smile as she recalled one instance when he had a ton of documents to file.

“Last time he had to file documents [that have] piled up in the past months. He was stressed because he was very focused, no one could order him other tasks. And he really wants to get things done immediately.”

She said Jomari does a lot of things around their division and they are also trying to teach him skills other than his usual chores, so that his competence would level up.

Empowering PWDs

Jomari and Raychan were trained under the PDAO’s center-based program provided free by the local government. 

Established in 2000, this intervention facilitates the learning of the persons with disabilities (PWDs) in various areas such as academics and entrepreneurship. Eventually, their students are assessed whether they can join regular schooling or pursue a livelihood track.

Headed by PDAO livelihood and support coordinator Cherry Ramos, they coordinate with the local Public Employment Service Office (PESO).

Aside from the two persons with autism, the local government led by Mayor Dahlia Loyola also employs other differently-abled staff: two who are hearing-impaired, two who are visually-impaired, and Cherry who herself is orthopedically handicapped.

“Sa aspeto ng pera malaking tulong ito para sa kanila, kasi syempre sa pamamagitan nito ay makakatulong sila sa kanilang pamilya, and at the same time, masusuportahan nila kahit sa kaunting halaga 'yong pangangailangan nila sa kanilang sarili,” she said.

(Financially, it is a big help because through the program they can provide for their family and their needs at the same time.)

“’Yung confidence syempre ‘di na nila maiisip na sila ay may kapansanan, lalung-lalo na kapag sila ay nagtatrabaho na, at saka isa pa, maipakita din nila sa mga tao na sa kabila ng kanilang kapansanan may kakahayhan silang gumawa,”  she added.

(It's a confidence boost; the don't think of themselves as disabled anymore especially when they're working. In addition, they can show other people that they are capable of working despite their disability.)

The local government of Carmona has been cited several times for their inclusion efforts. Other LGUs are looking at their example, with officials from other local governments visiting them so they can replicate the program in their respective communities. – Rappler.com

Patty Pasion

Patty leads the Rappler+ membership program. She used to be a Rappler multimedia reporter who covered politics, labor, and development issues of vulnerable sectors.