The City of Catbalogan hosted the two-day celebration of the International Deaf Day held in Cosina de Cabral, 29-30 October in partnership with the Catbalogan City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) headed by CSWDO Head Nida Aroza together with the City Police Station, DYMS Aksyon Radyo, Philippine Health (PhilHealth), Philippine Red Cross, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) with this year’s theme “With Sign Language, Everyone is included”.

The two-day of activity was participated by the delegates headed by the members of the Catbalogan City Association of the Deaf (CCAD), Philippine Federation of the Deaf Inc., Philippine Federation of the Deaf-Youth Section Inc., Development and Accessibility Fund for the Deaf Inc., Head of Hearing Group Philippines, Leyte Associate of the Deaf and delegates from Tacloban, Palo, Billiran, Baybay, Ormoc, Calbayog, students with their teachers together with their parents from Catbalogan I Special Education (SPED) class and with the special participation of American Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter Jessa P. Villero from Leyte who interpreted the sign languages into words in the activity.

As a media partner, DYMS Aksyon Radyo Manager Johnny Filamor said that they are accommodating the inclusion of the advocacies that protects the welfare of the Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) as well as the deaf people in their radio broadcasting as part of the fair information dissemination to the public. In a radio interview by MSFM Anchor Man Rene Castino, Philippine Federation of the Deaf Inc. Visayas Board Member Marlou Agbay and Philippine Federation of the Deaf – Youth Section Board Member Clea Mae Palabang was given a chance to tell to the public on air about their advocacies for the deaf and the laws that protects the deaf sector together with Persons with Disabilities Affairs Office (PDAO) – Designate Bernardito Dante who informed the public about the inclusion of the PWDs as well as the deaf sector in the delivery of programs and services by the city government of Catbalogan.

PhilHealth Account Management Officer Laarni del Rosario announced the passage of the bill into law as soon as the president signed it which is aiming for the Universal Coverage of PhilHealth for the PWDs. Under this law, PWDs are entitled to avail the PhilHealth benefits with no balance billing.

Catbalogan Police Deputy Chief Arnel Ambos said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) will continue to enforce the laws that protect the welfare of the PWDs as well as the deaf people. In an interview, Ambos said that they will be coordinating with the CSWDO for the request of the training of sign language to PNP personnel so that they can easily accommodate cases.

Senior Labor and Employment Officer Demmie Jose Uyvico said that they are assisting for those who want to have a source of income, in terms of the formation, enhancement and restoration of the business through the Livelihood Kabuhayan Program for all sectors of the society. Meanwhile, TESDA Administrative Officer II Marcel Carbaja said that TESDA is providing a scholarship such as the Training for Work which will develop their skills on massage, bread and pastries and other skills that is appropriate for them.

Agnes Allego, 43 from Canlapwas of Catbalogan City, mother of Christine Allego, Grade IV Catbalogan I SPED student said in an interview, that it is important for them to know the sign language so that they may be able to communicate well with their children and that they are thankful that the government is providing an activity and programs with the inclusion of the deaf people.

Ma. Cecilia Delos Reyes, 49 grandmother of Karla Rea Quiros, kinder at Catbalogan I Elementary School said that in the activity, they learned the laws that protects the rights and privileges of the deaf people.

In a sign language message, Marlon Agbay said that the law is strengthening and protect the rights and privileges as well as the sign language as a means of communication. Clea Mae Palabang said in her message that now a days, deaf people are more empowered provided that many deaf people, here and abroad are now successfull in their own field.

On the other hand, Bernardito Dante announced that the city government will be allocating a separate fund for the celebration of the International Deaf Day next year.

Meanwhile, the Catbalogan City Association of the Deaf members organized a new set of officers which put Jeannette Labong, a deaf teacher from Samar National School, the new president of the organization.