Lingayen --- Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. has commended two Pangasinenses who recently bagged the 2013 Ms. Philippines Vision title and Ms. Philippines on Wheels 2nd runner-up in a courtesy call held November 18 at the Governor’s office, here.
Arjhessa Espiritu, 22, from Bautista and Julie Austria, 27, from San Carlos City, represented the province in the national pageant held at Henry Lee Irwin Theatre in Ateneo De Manila University on November 9. The search was held as part of the International Year for the Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).
“Very proud po kami na kahit may kapansanan kami eh naiaangat po ang PWD sector namin. Dahil sa Ms. Philippines for PWDs naipapakita po namin ang mga abilities namin,” Espiritu said.
She encouraged the youth, either having disabilities or not, to pursue life, saying “Maganda ang buhay -- life must go on -- at iangat po natin ang ating mga sarili.”
Espiritu bested six other candidates while Austria outshined seven candidates.
Divina Quinsay, 17, also represented the province in the deaf category of the pageant.
Elated over the feats of two Pangasinense PWDs, Gov. Espino promised continuing backing-up of support for the PWD sector in the province.
The Governor likewise congratulated Alvin Corleto from Mangaldan for bagging the Mr. Pag-Asa Youth Organization Region 1 title in a pageant held at Caoayan, Ilocos Sur on September 26-27.
Espiritu lost her sight four years ago when she was eighteen due to glaucoma. She inherited her mother’s disability who also lost her sight at 18 due to glaucoma.
Despite her condition, Jessa, a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Education major in special education, does not consider her handicap as a barrier to her ambitions.
Austria, on the other hand, was afflicted with polio since she was one-year old; however, this did not hamper her desire to fulfill her dreams. She is a cosmetologist and beautician.
Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Emilio Samson said the support of the provincial government from the very start of the competition also did well as Espiritu was declared second place in internet popularity (Ms. Creative Journey – Crowd Favorite).
“Since Governor Amado T. Espino, Jr. assumed the governorship in 2007, the PWD sector was given enough attention -- to integrate them in the mainstream of the society,” Samson said.
PWD advocacies of the present administration include: the hiring of PWDs in the workforce, study tours, continuous information dissemination of the rights of the PWDs, the hosting of the 12th Special Olympics Philippines (SOP) National Games in 2009 for the first time and the first-ever staging of Provincial Paralympics in 2010.(PIO/Mark Gerry Naval Oblanca)