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Senator De Lima's Autism Care Act gains Support from Multi-Sectoral Intiative

Date: 11 September 2017; Type: Legal News; Source: Senate of The Philippines

Senator Leila M. de Lima today thanked members of Initiative for Disability Rights and Welfare (iDRAW) for expressing their support for Senate Bill (SB) No. 1433 or the Autism Care Act.

iDRAW is a multi-sectoral coalition of persons with disabilities (PWDs) and their families, youth sector, academe, businesses, professionals and government officials advocating for a rights-based approach in empowering persons with disabilities.

De Lima, principal author of the bill, said iDRAW's endorsement was very much welcome and it also affirmed the importance of crafting and improving rights-based policies and programs for persons with disability. "For years now, legislations drafted for PWDs have been viewed as privileges or charity. I think it's time to change this mindset, as they need to be given more under the law. The Autism Care Act, along with other laws for persons with disabilities should be seen as empowering tools that fulfill our social justice obligations to PWDs," she said.

In the Autism Care Act, De Lima proposed a national roadmap for addressing autism through the establishment of the Autism Council of the Philippines to help raise public awareness about this psychological disorder as a national health issue.

For the Senator, SB 1433 is a personal piece of legislation, as she has a son and grandson diagnosed with Autism Disorder. She filed this bill as one of her contributions to Autism awareness, as she fully understands the challenges families face while raising a child with said disorder.

De Lima also raised the need for greater protection of PWDs, noting how their vulnerabilities have been often exploited by criminal elements. She also cited recent incidents, wherein PWDs became victims of extrajudicial killings.

"There have been cases wherein PWDs have become part of the casualties under this administration's war on drugs. Instead of treating them as offenders, they should be seen as unwilling victims who could not understand the circumstances they were placed in," she said.

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