“All things are within reach, but we must do the reaching.” – John Foppe

I HAVE always been inspired by stories of success just like the visionary John Foppe’s phenomenal triumph over the disadvantages of not having arms, of being disabled. In his inspirational talks, one lesson that Foppe persistently wants people to emulate is about being resourceful. Despite life’s adversities, Foppe encourages people to be self-sufficient because “everything we need to succeed is within us and all that is left for us to do is to tap and use these things to our advantage.”

Nowadays, almost nothing is impossible and it is partly because of better opportunities. Such is the jobs fair for persons-with-disabilities (PWDs) co-organized by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). Labor secretary Arturo D. Brion dedicated the jobs fair for PWDs in time for the 29th National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week last July 17 to 23, with the theme, Kapag May Access, May Success!

Aside from being unswerving with the country’s Labor Code and Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, Brion said the collaborative endeavors and their concrete results show that the Philippines is endowed with compassion and action on the part of the Three Plus Social Partners (the government, labor, management and other sectors) to realize the dignity and humanity of the disadvantaged sectors in society.

Because of intervention from the government and the private sectors, there are now around 19,000 PWDs productively employed in various Philippine industries, and the number grows at about 10 per-cent each year.

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The statistic is a good indication since it implies a display of initiative from both sides: the provider and the receiver of the opportunities. Obviously, the collaboration of the government and its social partners who provide job opportunities has been positive as shown by increasing employment rate of PWDs.

On the side of the PWDs, it is uplifting to know that people despite of their disabilities, had the guts and the determination to assert themselves and apply for decent jobs. It just goes to show that when you want something and you try really hard reaching for it, what you wanted will come to you.

With this kind of reception, there is no wonder that PWDs will soon be integrated as one of the sectors most vital to the goal of having quality manpower.

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Speaking of opportunities, those who will unfortunately fail the recently nursing board exams might still have reasons to smile. DOLE is studying the feasibility of implementing Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) here in the Philippines.

Practical nurses are two-year vocational nursing graduates who can work in hospitals by handling mostly simple regimens of patient medication and care, under the direction of a full nurse or a physician.

LPN is being employed in countries such as Canada and the US. When this is approved, a broad number of opportunities will be opened to the growing number of unsuccessful nursing board examinees in the country.

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