Makati PWD get big break from Japan, Thai groups

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Makati City this week served as pilot site of hands-on training on real-time captioning specifically for persons with disabilities (PWD) jointly undertaken by the Asia-Pacific Development Center on Disability (APCD) of Thailand and Astem Co. Ltd. of Japan.

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In a meeting with Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay at City Hall on Wednesday, APCD general manager Ryuhei Sano expressed his vision of making Makati the “center of online captioning” in the country and even in Asia.

Captioning refers to writing the text version of speeches and other sounds that can be provided to television, DVDs, online video and films shown in theaters.

The mayor, in a statement, said he is grateful to the partner-agencies and expressed his support for further pursuing the project.

“On behalf of PWD not only in Makati but all Filipino PWD, I would like to thank the APCD and Astem for having chosen our country, particularly our city, to be the pilot and model for such a noble undertaking. It will truly make a difference in the lives of our differently-abled citizens,” he added.

Binay said the project was a “breakthrough” for PWD, who often have limited access to employment opportunities and sustainable means of livelihood.

He also expressed hope that the pilot training will be “the start of a lasting relationship with the project sponsors, APCD and Astem.”

The mayor shared with the foreign visitors his wish that the project will eventually be institutionalized in the city, possibly through integration of the training program in the curriculum of the city-run University of Makati.

Among those present at the meeting were ASTEM president Yuzon Oshima and executive director Hiroko Umeda, APCD media expert Lynette Lee Corporal and coordinator-architect Don de Vera, National Council for Disability Affairs executive director Carmen Zubiaga, United Architects of the Philippines president Jaime Silva, Makati PWD Federation president Errol Barba, Ma. Filomena Gaya of the HOH (Hard of Hearing) Group Phils. and Makati Social Welfare Department (MSWD) chief Ryan Barcelo.

Some 10 PWD residents of Makati were able to participate in the training from January 5 to 8 at the Multi-Purpose Hall of City Hall Building 2 after they met the criteria set by the sponsors.

Assessed by the MSWD, the participants—with either orthopedic disability or speech impairment and were jobless—were found to be computer-literate and college-educated.

The partnership of ACPD and Astem stemmed from their mutual desire to empower PWD around the world through providing access to equal opportunities for growth as well as unimpeded access to knowledge and information, which are “inherent rights of every human being.”

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