The city government of Makati has distributed P5,000 in allowances to each of the 780 Special Education or SPED students enrolled in 10 public elementary and high schools in the city.
Mayor Abigail Binay led the distribution on Tuesday coincided with the launching of “SPEED for SPED,” a work immersion program she initiated for SPED learners aged 18 years old and above.
At the ceremony held at Makati Science High School, Binay said even when she was still in Congress, she had recognized and sought to address the needs of children with special needs, as well as those of their parents and guardians.
“I realized that parents or guardians of special children need all the support they can get in bringing them up, including financial assistance. This is why we started giving out P5,000 cash as educational assistance for SPED learners in 2017,” she said.
The city chief executive is pushing for the immediate implementation of the SPEED for SPED program because she believed SPED learners have great potential to be productive workers.
“Aside from supporting the education of our children with special needs, we would like to help them become employable by equipping them with life skills that will enable them to be gainfully employed,” added Binay.
She also said that given the right opportunity, special Makatizens can join the labor force and contribute to the country’s socioeconomic growth.
“We would like to give them a fighting chance at becoming productive and self-reliant members of society,” the mayor said.
During the launching, Binay also mentioned her plans to hire a group of occupational therapists and developmental pediatricians to look after the health and development of children with special needs in the city.
“Besides educational support, we also need to provide these children with medical support. The services of an OT and DevPed are expensive. Parents who are jobless or with small income cannot afford it, but their children need to be assessed regularly. Thus, we will make a way to find a group of OT and DevPed to look after the health and development of children with special needs,” said Binay.
Based on the memorandum of agreement signed by the mayor and DepEd Makati, represented by Superintendent Rita Riddle, the SPEED for SPED program will have two phases: the school-based training and the work immersion proper. Its beneficiaries will be SPED students enrolled in Makati public schools either in elementary or in high school and who are at least 18 years old.
During the first phase, SPED students will be trained on life skills in the city’s public senior high schools with adequate training facilities and with teachers who have TESDA national certifications.
Life skills that will be taught to them will include drawing, cooking, table setting, massage, hairstyling, floral arrangement, carpentry, housekeeping, sales, filing, encoding, and computer or IT skills, among others.
In the second phase, which is the work immersion proper, trainees will render a total of 50 hours of work immersion in various offices and departments in the city government of Makati. Trainees will be provided by the city with daily transportation and meal allowances during their work immersion.
According to Riddle, the school-based training for the first batch of trainees consisting of 49 SPED students started last August. She said they are expected to be ready for employment by March next year.
The city government, in partnership with DepEd-Makati, is also set to scout for private establishments and companies to partner with for the trainees’ work immersion and possible employment opportunities which are suited to the life skills they have acquired.
The P5,000 educational assistance has been distributed to the 780 beneficiaries as follows: 121 SPED students at Nemesio Yabut Elementary School; 55, Tibagan High School; 45, F. Benitez Elementary School (Main); 62, San Antonio High School; 146, Hen. Pio del Pilar Elementary School (Main); 73, Fort Bonifacio High School; 78, Gen. Pio del Pilar High School; 38, Palanan Elementary School; 33, Makati Elementary School; and 129, Pembo Elementary School.
In 2017, some 557 SPED students enrolled in Makati public elementary and high schools each received P5,000 in educational allowance from the city.