MANILA, Philippines – Through the joint efforts of the Pasig City Persons with Disability Affairs Office (PDAO) and the Pasig City local government, local persons with disabilities (PWDs) were given the empowerment to be able to participate and be integrated in society through free leg and arm prostheses.
The fitting of the prosthetic legs, arms, and braces was conducted on Nov. 16 at the Pasig City Hall Quadrangle, which served 32 PWD recipients who were also taught how to use their new prosthesis.
Pasig PDAO said that the project aims to give PWDs “an assistive device to help them with their daily activities and additional means of opportunity to improve their living conditions and to help (their) livelihood and boost (their) economic empowerment.”
“We would like to take the opportunity to realize their potential,” PDAO added.
The project was done in cooperation with the local PWD Associations, Abot-Kamay ng mga may Kapansanan ang Pagunlad ng Pasigueño (AKKAPP) Federation, and the Pasig Children with Disabilities Under Parent Support Group.
Through the help of the City Health Department (CHD), Physicians for Peace Philippines Incorporated, and the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), screening for eligible PWD prosthetic recipients was carried out.
Pasig City Mayor Vico Sotto, who was present during the event, said one of the administration’s priorities is transforming Pasig into a more “PWD-friendly” city.
The Pasig Mayor also said they will continue to provide more assistance to PWDs in terms of financial aid, social services, and healthcare among others.
The prostheses were made and provided by the PBF Prosthesis and Brace Center, founded and managed by Fernando Santos, who is a PWD himself due to polio.
In an article by Inquirer which tells his inspiring story, Santos can be seen as a living testament that disability or the absence of a normal body part does not deduct one’s capability to lead a meaningful life.
In fact, Santos’ condition paved the way for him to look outwardly and think of how he can contribute to other people’s lives.
After taking a two-year special course conducted by French teachers from Handicap International from 1987 to 1989 as a trainer in prosthesis and orthosis, he discovered his true passion.
“I never realized how good it felt to be able to help others. I gave someone a prosthesis, he walked, and I was so happy I couldn’t sleep,” he said.
According to the same report, Santos eventually put up his own business, manufacturing prostheses, or artificial limbs, and orthosis. He put up the PBF Prosthesis and Brace Center not for profit alone, but as an avenue to help people with disabilities.