SM Marilao, September 22, 2011: – SM Cares through its PWD Committee in partnership with the DSWD, NGOs, Cerebral Palsied Association of the Philippines (CPAP) and Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy, Inc. (AKAP), gathered to raise public awareness on cerebral palsy. The event with a theme, “Ang cerebral palsied na may sapat na kaalaman at karapatan, kayang ipaglaban”, has a threefold purpose. First is to raise awareness about environmental sustainability through tree planting. Second is to provide and promote knowledge management on people with disabilities. Third is to empower people with cerebral palsy. These threefold purpose event is all rolled up into one day celebration of extraordinary accomplishments and great character of people with limited mobility.
The program started early morning at 7:00 AM, with tree planting activity at Barangay San Pedro Hagonoy Bulacan. Around 30 volunteers led by ASP Malolos Chapter President, Dr. Anawi Tolentino, SM Baliwag’s Assistant Mall Manager, Arch. Andrew Cristobal, Daylinda B. Taleon, Project Officer of AKAP and delegates from CPAP, DSWD-NCR, AMO-PDM, KAMPI, PDALD, PARM together with parent members and children with autism/ cerebral palsy– joined together in planting the seedlings on a one hectare garden. The tree planting activity is part of the advocacy in increasing efficiency and savings which can only be accomplished by tapping natural resources and addressing environmental concerns. In addition, its symbolic meaning serves as a reminder of the significance and responsive role expected from each one of us who were privileged of mobility to become part of a changed society.
Recognizing the importance of educating the public on cerebral palsied individuals, a follow through discussion has taken place at Bulwagang San Juan Hagonoy, Bulacan. Honorable Vice Mayor Rey Santos opened the program with a reminder of the commitment each one has to make to people with disabilities. Inspirational messages were given by Ms. Maura dela Rosa, Asst. Regional Director, DSWD FO II and Ms. Angelina Dela Cruz, MSWDO. To make the progam more interesting, kids from SPSC show off their talents by rendering a special dance number.
From Hagonoy, Bulacan, guests and participants were invited at the SM Marilao event center for the closing ceremony. Ms. Bernadette Velasco, SM City Marilao Mall Manager welcomed guests. Many cerebral palsied individual have difficulty sitting in a regular chair because of posture and muscle tension, the specially designed wheel chairs provide those with cerebral palsy with a different level of independence and comfort through the properly sized headrests, backrests as well as seats. Through the efforts of AKAP or Alyansa ng may Kapansanang Pinoy, Inc., headed by Capt. Oscar Taleon and Later Days Saint Charities Philippines; eleven people with limited mobility were given custom-fitted wheelchairs. Joining the awareness exercise was Ms. Dianne Deluria of Philippine Cerebral Palsy Incorporated, who recognized the outstanding cerebral palsied people. Closing remarks was given by Ms. Joanna Hizon of DSWD, who chaired the said event. Thus, Ms. Hizon commended SM for enhancing awareness of PWDs by helping the people at the malls to be more understanding and aware of the plight of PWDs.
Presently, SM is committed to change and progress for persons with disabilities. The company strives to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in every facet of malling experience. As SM marilao mall manager, Ms. Velasco, says “Our company is defined by our corporate social responsibility…our commitment is to improve the plight of our customers with special needs.” Currently, SM Marilao and SM Baliwag are more disabled friendly. This can be seen in the mall’s PWD ramps, toilet facilities with handlebars and counters which are accessible to wheelchairs; personnels were trained to take care of its special customers, and events were held in the mall to highlight more consciousness about this sector. All of these help the company in sealing the commitment to put the needs of special customers as the heart of the SM’s corporate social responsibility. Thus, SM is dedicated in being a catalyst of change by celebrating PWDs ABILITIES rather than disabilities.