The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) inaugurated this January a hearing test center in Batangas City for children with disabilities.
Equipped with an audiometer and hearing test devices donated by the US government, the center is part of a P112 million program to improve access to education. USAID also turned over Filipino Sign Language storybooks to the Inclusive Education Community Resource Center (IECRC) in Batangas City East Elementary School, which houses braille embossers and other assistive devices used by teachers to produce learning materials for students with visual and hearing impairments.
“This is a symbol of us being able to hear the needs of the people and this could be a motivation for us being able to see the need to contribute in the society,” said Hermilando I. Mandanas, governor of Batangas, in a Jan. 25 press statement. “We should work together with sincere commitment in improving the welfare of these children and persons with disability.”
“USAID is deeply committed to the inclusion of people who have vision and hearing disabilities and those who advocate and offer services on behalf of people with disabilities,” said USAID mission director Ryan Washburn.
There are 8.7% Filipinos with functional difficulty, based on the 2020 Census of Population and Housing (2020 CPH) of the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Of the 8.47 million household population aged five years and over surveyed by the 2020 CPH, 78.3% reported having difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses. Two-tenths (21.1%) reported hearing difficulty even when using a hearing aid. — Patricia B. Mirasol