Charito Corazon Manglapus, president of the Cerebral Palsied Association of the Philippines (CPAP), said that among the problems encountered by PWDs include access to churches.
“Our request is really for all the churches to be more accessible,” said Manglapus, 57, who also has cerebral palsy and moves around in wheelchair.
Manglapus also appealed for the creation of ministry for PWDs in all dioceses that would respond to their spiritual needs and other concerns.
According to her, the Church can also help differently-abled people in their struggle to overcome all forms of discrimination in the societies and secure equal opportunities for them.
“We are hoping that all dioceses will have a ministry for PWDs because we also need spiritual upliftment,” Manglapus said.
“This is important so that the others can accept that disability is not a liability. But this is really a challenge for many of us to be part of the Church,” she added.
Jaro Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, admitted responding to needs of the PWDs has remained a challenge for the Church.
Although some dioceses and church organizations do have ministry for the PWDs, he said that more aggressive action is needed to support them.
The CBCP has a Commission on Health that assists dioceses and religious communities to help those who are suffering on account of their handicap, old age and grave illness.
But since many dioceses do not have their own commission on health care, the ministry is handled by the social action centers.
“In fact in many places, it is under the social action ministry but I am in favor of having separate commission for PWDs,” Lagdameo said.
Manila Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo of the National Secretariat for Social Action also said that having a ministry for PWDs in the parishes has long been encouraged.
“There are already some parishes who have that but more needs to done. This is very important,” Pabillo said. (CBCPNews)