Differently abled student achieves dream of graduating despite being mocked

April 2, 2019 - 3:30 PM
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Public ridicule PWD
A social media user defended a differently abled person whose graduation photo was made fun of on Facebook. (Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos)(Facebook/Joseph Alcano Anggot)

A social media user called out people who poked fun at a differently abled student who shared his graduation photo on Facebook.

Justine Danielle took a screenshot of the offensive comments placed on the photo of Joseph Alcano Anggot, a person with disability who recently graduated from the Western Mindanao State University this March, and shared it on Twitter.

“Why do some people think it is ok to make fun of PWDs?” Danielle said.

She mentioned several names of schools where some of those who commented were purportedly studying.

Later, she said that one of these people apologized to her via direct message.

“Getting called out may be embarrassing, but if taken and done the right way, it can help one learn and do better. Let’s demand for accountability without taking away their shot at learning from this,” the user said.

Anggot updated his profile picture with his graduation photo on March 31 and captioned it with hashtag #Ididit.

He now has an education degree at the WMSU External Studies in the town of Molave in Zamboanga del Sur.

In another post, he thanked his family supporting him in attaining his college education.

“Hindi hadlang ang aking kapansanan tungo sa aking pangarap,” Anggot said.

Hindi hadlang ang aking kapansanan tungo sa aking pangarap 😍🎓To my Papa na sumasalangit na, my Mama, 3 ko pang…

Posted by Joseph Alcano Anggot on Sunday, March 31, 2019

This incident is not the first time that a person with disability or PWD received criticism or made fun of.

Last March, local coffee kiosk Farron Café which employs PWDs and out-of-school youth shared a screenshot of messages from one of its customers complaining about their deaf and blind staff.

Farron Café then appealed to the public to treat its employees on all its branches fairly and with respect.

Last April, a video clip of an Instagram user showing two people mocking PWDs in wheelchairs drew flak on Twitter.

A concerned user even messaged the company where the owner of the video worked for to make them aware of his behavior.

In January, several users launched the #BoyetChallenge where they mimicked Boyet, one of the main characters in GMA’s “My Special Tatay” who has autism.

This earned the ire and dismay of groups advocating for the rights of PWDs like the Autism Society Philippines.

Blogger and former Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and her friend Drew Olivar were harshly criticzed for a video of them mocking sign language.

What the law says

It is unlawful to ridicule and mock PWDs according to Republic Act 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

Based on the amended version or Republic Act 9442, public ridicule includes “making mockery of a person with disability whether in oral or in writing.”

Part of section 7, chapter 1 specifically states: “No individual, group or community shall execute any of these acts of ridicule against persons with disability in any time and place which could intimidate or result in loss of self-esteem of the latter.”

First-time violators could be fined from P50,000 to P100,000 or detained from six months to two years.

Subsequent violation corresponds to penalties from P100,000 to P200,000 and imprisonment of up to six years.