East Asia Pacific Regional Young Voices Meeting

The LCDPFI- Young Voices (YV) Philippines hosted the East Asia Pacific Regional Conference of the Young Voices (YV), which was held at Bay View Park Hotel, in Roxas Boulevard, Manila, from December 4 to 7, 2011. The theme of the Regional Meeting was, “Building A Better World for All: Youth Leaders of Today.” And this was participated in by youth with disabilities (YWDs), aged 16-25 years old, from China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, and Thailand. The three day meeting was funded by LCD, and graced by the presence and active participation of LCD Regional office headed by Smiley Wang, LCD EAPRO Regional Representative, Marie Anne Fernandez, LCD EAPRO Compliance and Contract Manager, and Venus Samson, LCD Regional Project Officer.

Emmanuel Penson, LCDPFI Board Member, was in charge of the welcoming ceremony during the solidarity night, which was also attended by Richard D. Arceño, LCDPFI National Coordinator, Trevor Lewis, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy Manila, and Lauro Purcil, Philippine Coalition on UNCRPD lead convenor. The first day of the session, which was the introduction of the delegates, also had Kabataan Party List Congressman Raymond “Mong” Palatino as guest speaker. The young legislator promised to include the raised concerns of youth with disabilities during the meeting, which include additional incentives for PWD athletes, installation of accessible facilities in Congress, and partnership with LCDPFI Young Voices activities.

The delegates were asked to prepare a report about the present status of the YV programme in their respective countries. There was an interactive game called YV Battle of the Brains where the YV delegates competed with each other. YV- Iloilo (Philippines) won in the championship round over YV- Malaysia.

World Youth Alliance (WYA) shared a brief background about their initiatives and history of partnerships with LCDPFI, including the involvement of YWDs in their organization. This led the YV groups around the region to be involved as members of WYA and disseminate the information about their programs. The session ended with a memorable dinner at Sea Side Boulevard, located at the back of SM Mall of Asia

The second day session included YV video film watching and updating, followed by the discussions more on UNCRPD updates with the help of Mr. Purcil. YV Philippines presented their report about the UNCRPD status in cooperation with the Philippine Coalition on UNCRPD. YV- Philippines explained its role in the drafting of the parallel report through regional consultation. Presentation of the challenges faced by each chapter was also reported to LCD EAPRO and YV members were able to formulate a regional advocacy campaign for the East Asia Pacific Region, which was signed by all the YV members on the last day, December 6. The event was successfully ended through a cultural night show wherein representatives from each participating country did song and dance numbers portraying their diverse cultures. It was also attended by Rondalla on Wheels, Inclusive Youth Center group, National Youth Commission Chairman Leon G. Flores III, Jesus Mari P. Marzan, City Administrator of Manila, Joy Ignacio of UNIO (United Nations International Organization), Yap Wei Sin, Second Secretary, Embassy of Malaysia. There were also 19 newsprint media who supported and witnessed the event.

The last day of December 7, 2011, was devoted to the study tour, and the YV delegates visited the historic Walled City of Intramuros, and SM Mall of Asia, the third largest mall in the world which was assisted by SM Disability Affairs Office.