SM Supermalls & Provincial Government of Bulacan, Supports PWD Empowerment

(L-R) Present to support the Photography With a Difference Exhibit Launch at SM City Baliwag were Bulacan Shutters Club’s Jeffrey Ingaran, KASAMAKA sa Bulacan President Alfredo Aguilar and Akapin Inc. Head Zenaida Flores together with the mall’s Asst. Mall Manager Ardee Tolentino (center) and SM Committee on Disability Affairs member, Alvin de Galicia (extreme left)

In its continuous effort to promote the welfare of persons with disability (PWD), SM Supermalls joined hands with the Provincial Government of Bulacan in celebration of the National Disability and Prevention (NDPR) Week held at SM City Baliwag.

This year’s theme dubbed, “Mainstreaming Persons with Disabilities in Economic Development” focuses on the role of every citizen to take part in helping uplift the economic conditions of PWDs. Feted every third week of July, the NDPR event is celebrated in honor of Apolinario Mabini, the Sublime Paralytic who played a significant role in Philippine Revolution despite his disabilities.

The NDPR event at the mall’s Event Center was a cheerful gathering of special members of the community from the 21 towns and 3 cities in Bulacan. Participants also included children from Akapin Inc., Betsaida and Hebron School who all enjoyed a day full of games and exciting activities. In addition, Governor Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado together with Vice Governor Daniel Fernando shared heartwarming words of encouragement and led in the distribution of gifts and incentives to contest winners.

Also on display during the event was an exhibit of impressive artworks made by Frederico Palines, a physically-challenged artist who despite his disability is able to showcase his extraordinary gift in visual arts. Through the Department of Labor Region 3’s program, Palines is now a recipient of the Kabuhayan Livelihood assistance.

On July 21, a showcase of beautiful shots of children with autism and Down Syndrome was opened during the Bulakenyo Angels Day Out: Photography With a Difference Exhibit at the Event Center of SM City Baliwag. These heart-tugging photos show children snapping happily while their partner photographers teach them the basics of photography. Mall goers get the chance to view these amazing photos until July 31.

A company that cares

Through SM Cares Program on Disability Affairs, SM City Baliwag’s front liners including the security and janitorial personnel underwent a Seminar on Handling Special Customers prior to the NDPR week-long celebration. The training which is held annually aims to educate mall employees on the proper ways and attitude in treating customers with disability. Notable speakers included Arch. Jimmy Silva of the United Architects of the Philippines, Adette Dela Paz of the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines and Zenaida Flores, head of Akapin Inc.

Moreover, the company’s strong advocacy on creating a barrier-free environment also paved way to employing persons with disability across SM malls in the country. In SM City Baliwag, Gerardo Guinit, a hearing-impaired restroom attendant is now on his first year of service. Apart from maintaining the cleanliness of his assigned area, he also attends to the special comfort room for PWDs.