NIMH – National Institutes of Health (NIH) photo courtesy
MANILA — ACT-CIS Party-List Rep. Jocelyn Tulfo on Tuesday pushed for the enactment into law of House Bill 6686, or the proposed CARES Act which aims to raise awareness on Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD and provide accessible health care programs to more Filipinos with ASD.
The bill was recently filed by Rep. Tulfo along with other ACT-CIS representatives.
Rep. Tulfo cited the findings of the Autism Society of the Philippines, where 1 out of 100 Filipinos has ASD, translating to more than 1.2 million Filipinos affected by the disorder.
She said that the need for protection of the welfare and increasing awareness of ASD became more axiomatic during the COVID-19 pandemic when individuals diagnosed with ASD, especially children, proved to be one of the more vulnerable individuals due to their comorbidities.
Emphasizing the discrimination experienced by persons with disabilities, Rep. Tulfo further stated the need for affordable medical services, proper education to all sectors, and research on autism to provide adequate support to them and their families.
“Sa panahon ng pandemya, namulat ang ating bansa sa mga kakulangan at pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang may kapansanan, kasama na rito ang mga apektado ng ASD lalong lalo na ang kabataan. Marami sa ating mga kababayan na apektado ng ASD ang patuloy na nagiging biktima ng diskriminasyon, bullying, krimen, kakulangan ng atensyong medical at mga paaralan na naaayon sa kanilang mga pangangailangan dahil sa kawalan ng programa at tamang edukasyon sa mga pribido at pampublikong sector sa bansa,” Rep. Tulfo said.
The CARES bill seeks to create Inter-agency Cooperation among the Department of Health, Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Education, and the Philippine Council for Mental Health, along with other academic institutions, to promote early screening of ASD in children, research on ASD, and continuing education on autism to public service providers such as the police force.