A multi-million contract
with Persons With Disabilities (PWDs), the deal was realized back in August 26, 2004, thanks to the National Federation of
Cooperatives of Persons With Disability (NFCPWD).
The contract is for the
supply and door-to-door delivery of steel-based secondary armchairs. Yet what made this more than just the regular government
procurement are the workers tasked for said supply and the door-to-door delivery.
To date, the men and women
of the Association of Disabled Persons In Iloilo or ADPI particularly those with the ADPI Multi-Purpose Cooperative are directly
in charge with the bulk of said order placed at 10,200 units.
With cross disability
mostly polio victims, vision-impaired and blind, deaf-mute, have dwarfism and those with cerebral palsy, these Ilonggo workers
are silent heroes who have all redefined Ilonggo craftsmanship. And within them, sparked a revolution of change in their quest
for a productive life and recognized right for a regular life.
43 year-old Bob Flores
of Mandurriao, Iloilo City
is one of the three designated supervisors. A polio victim, Bob who may be orthopedically-handicapped sees no problem making
his rounds here and there.
Quietly yet with seeming
precision, Bob wheels in his wheelchair looking through the painting job of young women ADPI members in their late teens to
early 20s. All deaf-mute yet loudly sending the message in every neatly-painted wood that will make for the back rest of the
Bob also checks with that
ready smile to fellow polio victims engrossed in welding jobs and a group of happy faces of ADPI colleagues, all with dwarfism
working through their task of piling up more woods.
The ADPI steel workers
found refuge in the TESDA Regional Office where government support was extended for the group and welding course scholarship
embraced by the members.
TESDA Regional Director
Buen Mondejar in an interview said TESDA is most happy and willing to link up with the hardworking ADPI men and women. Those
without the skill TESDA provided the scholarship.
Mario Abaygar, National
President of the NFCPWD correspondingly serves as the General Manager of the ADPI Multi-Purpose Cooperative."I am most happy
to have helped made them self-reliant and productive partners of the society and the government. This is the legacy I am leaving
them," Mario said. "And it brings me great pride to bring these chairs to students from far-flung barangays. What an honor
to be part of their education."From sanding, to cutting, from bending to welding, from grinding to painting, from transfer
and delivery, ADPI power is there that ensures an average output of 60 steel chairs per day.
Alfredo Gumaquil, former
town councilor of Pavia who lost a leg serves as the very
able supervisor of the transfer and delivery of the finished steel chairs.
Like Bob, he makes his
rounds in the TESDA workhouse quietly as he prods on the vision-impaired worker, guiding him through the waiting delivery
truck. ADPI’s skills are also for making of wheelchairs, crutches and prosthesis for its members and those who needs
one for family members faced with physical disability.
In the words of Secretary
Augusto "Boboy" Syjuco, Director-General of the Technical Education and Skills Authority (TESDA), "Ang kapigaduhon, kaimulon
kag kasablagan sa lawas indi na sarang kabalabag sa katumanan sa inyo handum para sa inyo kaugalingon kag inyo pamilya. Ang
TESDA kag si Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo yara bilang hagdan sang sina nga katumanan. (Poverty and disability will not
hinder our dreams for yourselves and your families. TESDA with President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are there to serve as your
ladder for success and ladder for the realizations of those dreams.")
The ADPI. Silent heroes.
Ordinary men and women leading extraordinary lives and great examples to the Ilonggo community. This is what life is all about
-- perseverance and shining Ilonggo spirit.
The ADPI. Their appeal
-- opportunity not pity. Their vision -- to establish a sustainable, productive and committed organization, to unite, guide
and lead the total development of persons with disabilities in Western Visayas. Their mission
-- to integrate the PWDs into society.