In celebration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities this year, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) turned over information, education and communication (IEC) materials translated to Braille – a universally accepted system of reading and writing for blind persons – to selected special education (SPED) schools during a simple ceremony held at the DENR Central Office in Quezon City on December 5.

In line with this year’s international theme, “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: The role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world,” the DENR—through its Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service-Persons with Disabilities Desk—invited teachers and students who served as representatives from the 13 selected SPED schools to receive the IEC materials.

The project has come into fruition under the directive of DENR Secretary Antonia Loyzaga, whose bid to promote inclusiveness for all sectors of society has been at the forefront of the DENR initiatives.

According to DENR Undersecretary for Policy, Planning and International Affairs Jonas R. Leones, the DENR’s drive for climate justice includes the struggle of the disabled minority. The translation of the IEC materials is part of the agency’s development of long-term solutions, effective programs and sustainable projects that would benefit the whole of society.

“We are here today because the Department understands your strength, and we created necessary efforts to help you appreciate what the environment has to offer through the translation of these IEC materials,” Leones said.

The translation of IEC materials to Braille is considered the first of its kind in the DENR.

The materials translated to Braille included Perwisyong Usok Pigilan, which features ways to help clean the air; Malinis na Katubigan at Luntiang Kapaligiran, which highlights the importance of plants and trees and enumerates ways to improve waterways; Climate Change in the Philippines; E-Waste; and Enhanced Adopt an Estero Program Activities.

The recipient SPED schools are the Philippine National School for the Blind, Batino Elementary School, San Vicente Elementary School, Bagong Silang Elementary School, Valenzuela National High School, San Rafael BBH Elementary School, San Fernando Elementary School, Angeles Elementary School, San Fernando City SPED Integrated School, Bautista Elementary School, Sorsogon East Central School, Naga City SPED Center, and Kalalake Elementary School.

National Council on Disability Affairs IEC Division Chief Gian Carla Negra thanked the DENR for providing the schools with the Braille materials, saying it provides the Council the opportunity to check the implementation of the law for PWDs.

She added that the Braille-translated materials will be very important for the education of the students, and hopes that more national government agencies will follow suit in providing a safe and considerate atmosphere for PWDs.

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated annually every third day of December by virtue of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 47/3 promulgated in 1992. ###