DAGUPAN CITY– Four persons with disabilities from Region 1 will carry the Philippine flag to the International Abilympics or the Olympics of Abilities for Persons with Disabilities on March 22-27 in France.
Jennifer Garcia (orthopedically handicapped) will compete in the word processing category; Annie Rose Rumbaua ((orthopedically handicapped) in cookery; Jerome Marzan (hearing impaired) in webpage design and Preciousa Paz Quinto (hearing impaired) in outdoor photography.
Garcia, who suffered from polio when she was two years old, said she is excited for the opportunity to compete internationally.
“Going to France to represent our country is already a prize in itself. We are happy to be part of the team. So please pray for us guys in the competition,” Garcia said.
Gilbert Caronongan, Abilympics Focal Person, said Region I has the biggest number of qualifiers from the Philippine delegation composed of two other qualifiers from Region 11, and one each from Regions 4A, 8 and 10.
A mock competition was held Tuesday at the Area Rehabilitation and Vocational Center (AVRC) in Dagupan City to gauge the contestants' preparedness and competitiveness.
“The mock competition was designed to identify the critical areas where the contestants will be needing support and improvement to prepare them for the international contest,” Caronongan said.
The other five contestants are: Julius Rosalinda (waste reuse) and Adam Rey Pantinople (desktop publishing), both from Region 11; Edmundo Balan (painting and decoration) from Region 8; Aurora Porras (floral arrangement) from Region 4A; and Jannet Saladoris (bakery/cake decoration) from Region 10.
The International Abilympics, which takes place every four years, traces its beginning in Japan in 1972. The first international contest was initiated by Japan in 1981 in line with the United Nation’s Declaration of the same year as International Year of Disabled Persons.
The Philippines has participated in the competition and has fielded PWD competitors in Hongkong (1991), Australia (1995); Czech Republic (2000); India (2003) and Japan (2007). In 2000 and 2003, the Philippines ranked 8th and 6th respectively among 21 participating countries.
The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), National Council for Disability Affairs (NCDA) , Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and Abilympics Philippines, Inc. (API) jointly coordinate and manage the country’s participation to the international event.( PIA-1, Pangasinan)