The Autism Society Philippines (ASP), together with SM Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, hold the annual Angels Walk for Autism last March 3, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Since it began in 2007,the walk continues to advocate for acceptance, accommodation and appreciation of Filipinos with autism towards an Autism Philippines.
This year’s Angels Walk for Autism celebrates our country’s legacy of strong leaders that have brought the autism advocacy forward — for the last 30 years, across 97 chapters, with 13,000 members –– and have become the foundation on which the next generation of leaders will build the future.
Hans T. Sy has been honored as the inaugural recipient of the ASP’s Leadership Award for Autism Inclusion and Welfare. It is the society’s highest recognition, celebrating exemplary leadership that has significant and positive impact on advancing ASP’s vision of acceptance, accommodation and appreciation of persons with autism in an Autism-OK Philippines. Beyond
awareness, Mr. Sy’s leadership has inspired tangible, measurable action through the accomplishments of SM Cares.
“Although many are aware of autism, very few people actually understand what it means to live life on the autism spectrum. SM Cares and ASP come together as a community to remind
everyone that autism awareness and acceptance should be part of their everyday lives.
Awareness is a good thing, but acceptance is far more meaningful,” said Engr. Bien Mateo, SVP
of SM Supermalls and Program Director of SM Cares Program on PWD’s.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos, who issued EO 711 of 1996, instituting the commemoration of the National Autism Consciousness Week, will be honored by ASP as the Father of the Philippine Autism Advocacy. “FVR’s leadership opened the doors for the government agencies and private institutions to begin the path towards genuine inclusion of persons on the autism spectrum,” shared Mona Magno–Veluz, ASP National President, “His administration’s disability– inclusive policies have put the Philippines ahead of our ASEAN neighbors in advocating for persons with autism and other invisible disabilities.”
The pre-walk program led by Ms. Dang Koe, ASP Chair Emeritus and the inaugural ASEAN Prize Laureate 2018. The ASEAN Prize aims to recognise inspiring achievements and contributions that foster the ASEAN identity, promote the ASEAN spirit, and champion the ASEAN way. ASP is among the active movers behind the ASEAN Autism Network and the
ASEAN Mapping Project.
ASP will also award the Autism Works Partners of the Year honors to Dohtonbori Philippines, a
Japanese casual dining pioneer and to Willis Towers Watson, a global leader in risk
management and consultancy, for their unwavering commitment to creation of productive
opportunities for jobseekers with autism.
The program will include the presentation of the annual ASP Autism Angel Achievement Awards
to Samantha Pia Cabanero (for Advocacy), Eduardo Enrique Munarriz (for Athletics), and Carlo
Gregorio Veluz (for Visual Arts). It will also incorporate the induction of the new ASP Board of
Trustees, composed of parent advocates; and the first set of officers of the ASP Self-Advocates
Circle, composed of adults with autism. The festivities will include acts from special guests and
performers on the autism spectrum, and a special presentation on ASP’s milestones since its
foundation in 1989.
Over 20,000 participants — families, professionals, supporters from the government and private
sectors, from the Philippines and overseas — are expected to join the annual walk from the MOA
Arena to the SM MOA Music Hall. The walk is held with the support of the MOA Arena, SM Mall
of Asia, National Council of Disability Affairs, ASEAN Autism Network and the Asia–Pacific
Development Center on Disability.
The Autism Society Philippines (ASP) is a national, non-profit organization working towards an
environment that empowers persons with autism spectrum disorder to become the best of their potentials
— self-reliant, productive and socially-accepted members of the community. ASP labors to establish
institutional mechanisms to support persons with autism and their families. Established in 1989, the
organization — composed of 13,000 members spread over 96 chapters — has been in the forefront of
providing services to families and individuals affected with autism.
SM Cares is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of SM Prime Holdings, Inc. Its advocacies include
Programs on Persons with Disabilities, Children and Youth, Women and Breastfeeding Mothers,
Environment Sustainability, Senior Citizens, and Overseas Filipino Workers (SM Global Pinoy). As a
responsible integrated property developer, SM ensures that its CSRprograms serve as a catalyst for
positive change in the communities that it supports.