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Living Life with a Disability (Part 2 of 3)

It was like mission impossible especially if you consider the expense involved. But it isn’t just in my nature to give up that easy. Prior to hospital admission, I practically begged for medical assistance from various sources; family relatives, friends, previous colleagues, and government agencies. I braved the pain, the stress and exhaustion of fulfilling various requirements which are subject to approval; willing one heavy step after another in spite of my condition. Sadly, you can barely count on the fingers those who were willing to help; without so much of a reason and side comments. But I persisted because I need to. I told myself that I have survived countless ordeals involving sickness, poverty and death since the early years of my life; and I aim to see this through.

A few days till Christmas 2015, and there I was finally on the operating table to undergo emergency spine procedure that could go either way. It would literally mean a new beginning --- either have a successful operation to gain a new lease in life, or be like a vegetable and spend my living years in a wheelchair. Through all the effort and prayers, the surgery was a 98-99% success; the 1-2% probably did a severe damage to a certain nerve which kept my right forefinger with little or no sensation. Although a minor setback, I can surely live with that and be thankful --- because after the operation, I can walk upright again.

I went home the eve before New Year. With rest, medications, rehab and therapy sessions, I slowly regained strength and mobility on my back, spine, neck and extremities. The operation left its mark and tagged me as a Person with Disability (PWD).

My experience as a writer enabled me to earn home-based through online freelance writing. It has been a privilege for me to function as a researcher and speechwriter for a Senator and other government personalities’ years prior the spine surgery; I will always carry those vast experiences to work for me whenever needed. But I yearned to ease myself back into society; for I cannot just remain idle and be unproductive. Problem is, I cannot do strenuous work and rigorous activity as I had once before.

When I saw a segment on cable about how President Rodrigo Duterte sincerely wanted to uplift the lives of the poor, and gave a banana-cue (banana deep-fried in oil with melted brown sugar) vendor a sizeable working capital that is more than enough to start a small business; that gave me hope!

So what I did was to inquire and seek assistance from various NGO and Government Agencies who can provide capital assistance to jumpstart a starting entrepreneur. I wrote to the following institutions (dated Monday, 25 July 2016) hoping that they would respond according to their commitment to poverty alleviation and social responsibility: Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Office of the President thru Presidential Action Center (PACE), Office of the Vice President (OVP), Hapinoy and Philippine Business for Social Progress (PBSP) at a later date.

Unfortunately, not a single response from the emails and phone inquiries were received from DSWD, DTI, OVP and Hapinoy despite repeated follow-ups. I had higher hopes from PBSP primarily because its Chairman of the Board (MVP) is a known person with a big heart (by virtue of his numerous accomplishments in support of fellow Filipinos), and of course, the Office of President Duterte. 

I started to lose hope after a month has passed since sending out the inquiry and assistance letter/s, and still not a single organization cared to reply.

*To Be Continued on Part 3 of 3.

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