By Wilnard Bacelonia

WHITE CANE SAFETY DAY. Philippine Information Agency Director-General Jose Torres Jr. (right), receives the certificate of appreciation from Department of Education (DepEd) Bureau of Learning Delivery Director Leila Areola during the celebration of White Cane Safety Day 2023 with the theme: “Puting Baston: Gabay sa MATATAG na kinabukasan, Inklusibong Edukasyon at Pamayanan,” held at the PIA Auditorium in Quezon City on Tuesday (August 1, 2023). Every year on August 1st, the Philippines celebrates the “White Cane Safety Day” pursuant to Republic Act 6759 of 1989. The law declares that it is the policy of the State to promote and protect the physical, moral, and social well-being of all persons with visual impairments. (PNA photo by Joey O. Razon) 

MANILA – The Department of Education’s Bureau of Learning Delivery (DepEd-BLD), together with partners in public and private sectors, showcased on Tuesday various technologies that will help the blind and other persons with visual disabilities get access to print and online learning materials.

The event took place simultaneously with the celebration of the White Cane Safety Day held at the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) Auditorium in Quezon City.

In her keynote message, DepEd-BLD Director Leila Areola reiterated the agency’s commitment to support visually impaired learners under the MATATAG Agenda.

“Imbedded deep within the MATATAG Agenda of the Department of Education is a commitment to nurture our learners by fostering their well-being, promoting inclusive education, and cultivating a positive learning environment. We steadfastly believe that fortified by our unwavering support, we can realize these goals for our visually impaired learners,” Areola said.

“Our shared vision for the 2023 White Cane Safety Day is that it may serve as a platform for rejuvenating our partnership, bolstering our support services, and rekindling the spirit of Republic Act No. 6759 (White Cane Act) and let this day be an enduring reminder of our collective footing to respect and care for our visually impaired community,” she added.

The White Cane Act is to promote and protect the physical, moral and social well-being of all persons with visual impairments; to instill public awareness of the plight of the blind; promoting recognition and acceptance of the “white cane” as a symbol of their mobility and independence.

Among the exhibitors in the event was the KGS Philippines which featured the Next Touch 40, a device that allows visually impaired individuals to access digital content through touch by converting text into Braille characters.

The Pacific Vision also featured various hand held magnifiers, text-to-speech devices, among others.

With DepEd, the Department of Health, National Council on Disability Affairs, Department of the Transportation, Resources for the Blind Inc., Bookshare Philippines, parents advocates for visually impaired children and the Philippine Blind Union also expressed their full support for this year’s White Cane Safety Day celebration. (PNA)