‘Boyet Challenge’ discriminates PWDs – De Lima

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged netizens to stop participating in an online experiment that vilifies persons with autism by mimicking their mannerism and making them a subject of ridicules.

De Lima, who chairs the Senate Committee on Social Justice, Welfare and Rural Development, said the “Boyet Challenge” social media trend should be stopped because it promotes discrimination of the defenseless, including persons with disability (PWDs).

“I appeal for the immediate stoppage of ‘Boyet Challenge’ and similar online projects, and urge the public to please discontinue participating in such platforms that only breed stigmatization of PWDs, and engender discrimination and prejudice against the marginalized and vulnerable groups in our society,” she said in her recent Dispatch from Crame No. 458.

“Maling-mali na gawing puntirya ng katatawanan at panlilibak ang mga taong may autism o anumang kapansanan. What they have is not a disease, but merely a different ability – the ability to see the world in a spectrum of colors only they can appreciate, only they can see. They are not abnormal. They are special,” she added.

De Lima reacted after a social media experiment dubbed “Boyet Challenge” which encourages participants to upload videos imitating the lead character in the popular TV series “My Special Tatay” made the rounds online.

Since the online game went viral, it provoked howls of protest from cause-oriented groups which pointed out that making fun of PWDs is unethical and illegal under Republic Act No. 9442, which protects PWDs from vilification.

As both a parent and a grandparent to children born with autism, the lady Senator from Bicol pointed out that she knows that living a safe life free from any form of discrimination continues to be a challenge for PWDs and their families.

“Nakikita ko at nararamdaman ang mga pagsubok na pinagdadaanan nila at ng kanilang mga pamilya, gaya ng pangangailangang pangkalusugan, edukasyon, produktibong gawain o trabaho, at ganap na pagtanggap ng komunidad at lipunan,” she said.

“Sa dami na ng hamong hinaharap ng mga taong may kapansanan at kanilang pamilya, dadagdag pa ba tayo sa pang-aapi at kawalang malasakit sa kanila?” she asked.

De Lima appealed to her colleagues in the Senate to act with dispatch on Senate Bill (SB) No. 1433, or the proposed “Autism Care Act of 2017 which she filed last May 2017, seeking to elevate the status and improve the situation of people with autism. SB No. 1433, which De Lima considers as “a personal piece of legislation,” seeks a national roadmap for addressing autism through the creation of the Autism Council of the Philippines to help raise public awareness about the psychological disorder.

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