Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Attitudes Toward Persons with Disabilities: Philippine Setting

In the Philippines, Jandayan et al. (2009) specified that the country has significant infrastructures (laws, institutions, programs, activities, expressed commitments and advocacy in international and local settings, non-governmental organizations of persons with disabilities, etc.) to promote the rights of the persons with disabilities. In paper, it is like a haven for persons with disabilities. However, Filipinos with disabilities face strong attitudinal barriers. This is caused by dejecting rather than encouraging attitudes of ordinary Filipinos towards persons with disabilities. Over the last five years, human rights violations have taken place for many Filipinos with disabilities and most often involve overt discrimination, unequal treatment, disrespect for difference, denial of accessibility and exclusion. These hurt persons with disabilities more than their handicap (Blanco, 2011; Jandayan et al., 2009).
On the other hand, the Japan International Cooperating Agency (2002) reported that the general Filipino public is now more open and accepting about disabilities. A number of individuals, companies and civic or welfare organizations offer money or in-kind donations to persons with disabilities. This may be considered a good means of direct support for persons with disabilities, yet this has also deprived them of equal access to opportunities.
Moreover, De torre (2002) discussed that Filipino attitudes toward persons with disabilities also have a spiritual component. Filipinos believe that having a family member with disability is a punishment while others believe that this family member with disability could bring luck especially in business. Nevertheless, it was added that coping with a family member with disability is overcome through acceptance, problem–solving, help from friends and professionals and faith.
Gething (1991) specified the range of emotions and motivations that have been linked to nonaccepting or negative attitudes toward persons with disabilities. These are fear of the unkown, or  a feeling of being uncertain about how to act and what to expect from the person with disability which causes anxiety to an individual without disabilities; a threat to security, or a threat of seeing the world as just, fair and predictable which can take place when someone perceives a person suffering from an apparently undeserved fate; fear of becoming disabled, or seeing a person with disability reminds individuals of their own vulnerability; guilt, happens when people ask themselves why did this misfortune happen to other person and not to themselves; and lastly, aversion, a general hate and repugnance to difficulties and weakness.

Furthermore, studies and researches have been conducted to view public attitudes towards persons with disabilities. These researches yielded results which generally imply negative attitudes towards persons with disabilities. 
image source: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/files/2011/11/persons-with-disabilities-PWDs.jpg

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