April 17, 2024

The Department of the Interior and Local Government and a civic organization signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at assisting children with disabilities (CWDs), especially those in poor and remote communities.

Sec. Benjamin Abalos, Jr. and Rehabilitation and Empowerment of Adults and Children with Handicap Foundation Inc. (REACH Foundation) President, Prof. Abelardo Apollo David, Jr., signed the MOU on Feb. 8, the DILG said in a news release.

Under the pact, CWD beneficiaries would have access to free occupational, physical and speech therapy services through teletherapy.

Teletherapy is any remote therapy that uses technology to help the therapist and patient communicate using mobile phone, videoconferencing and other online platforms.

Abalos said the partnership is a sustainable way to help CWDs and their families get the support they need.

“Is there a payment? There is. What is the payment? The parent would bring his/her child for therapy and he/she would also be taught. They would repeat it in their homes. The payment there is that the parent would assist another parent who would undergo the same procedure,” Abalos said.

“It’s very sustainable and it’s not only intervention of the young children, but also empowering the parents.”

Abalos thanked REACH Foundation for being a long-time partner organization of the DILG in helping CWDs and their families.

“These are our heroes. Our experience should be shared all over the country and, of course, what REACH is doing,” Abalos said.

He added they will explore the possibility of including the care and support being provided by LGUs to CWDs as one of the assessment points in handing out DILG’s Seal of Good Local Governance award.

David said teletherapy is an innovative approach to therapy that lets CWDs receive needed care through a secure video connection.

He said there are about 270,000 CWDs or one child under 15 years old for every five PWDs in the Philippines.

REACH Foundation is a non-stock, non-profit organization established in 2005 in response to the need for adequate and appropriate rehabilitation services for less privileged PWDs. – PNA