Words By Roy Banias
To brave the world means to be on your feet and defy the challenges that wait to beset you. But what if due to one unfortunate case or say the passing of time, you literally lose the ability to stand and move on your own would you still have the courage to continue conquering the odds?
For Tagumenyo Diana Prado-Munzon, the answer is yes. Though her legs and feet no longer function after suffering from stroke back in 2015, she still has all the reasons to smile and continue living the life she had. And believe it or not, moving from one place to another is not a problem for her thanks to the wheelchair given to her by the City Government of Tagum under the program Wheel to Aid.
The Wheel to Aid is a flagship program of the local government, under the leadership of Mayor Allan Rellon, which seeks to extend a helping hand to Tagumenyos who are impeded with their physical disabilities to walk normally or worst incapably. The program is anchored on giving free wheelchairs to individuals who have long-suffered immobility or have been bed-ridden as caused by accidents, illnesses and old-agedness.
The Social Services and Gender and Development Management Unit of the City Mayor’s Office, headed by Ms. Anthonette Leones, is the office managing the program. Mrs. Munzon is one of the many Tagumenyos the Social Services Unit had noted as worthy to become a beneficiary of Wheel to Aid. With a single picture and a request letter addressed to Mayor Rellon, Mrs. Munzon received her brand new wheelchair just days after sending such to the City Mayor’s Office.
“Mao na requirements ra gihapon para sa uban,” said Mrs. Marlita R. Labian, Focal Person of the Wheel to Aid Program. “Sa mga nanginahanglan ug wheelchair, katong duha ra among ginapangayo kay dili mi gusto mahasol sila,” she emphasized.
She also stressed that those who have little or no chances of recovery are the ones that the Social Service Unit will merit as beneficiaries of the Wheel to Aid Program. However, she expressed that those who will not be hitting the check mark as recipients of the free wheelchairs will be accommodated and be given assistance through the other programs of the city government.
In 2016 alone, close to 200 wheelchairs were distributed to Tagumenyos across 23 barangays of the city. Undeniably, the fair value of wheelchairs in the market is an adversary to the pockets of many as each one has a commercial value of six to seven thousand pesos. That is why for the Wheel to Aid beneficiaries, the support they received from the local government is a marvel they will cherish years after years.
“Dako jud ug tabang ang wheelchair mao nga dako pod mig pasalamat sa gobyerno,” said Pastor Danilo Munzon, the husband of Ms. Diana.
The local government has also taken the initiative of forging partnerships with some bigwigs in the national government, like House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and then-Vice President Jejomar Binay, to outsource donors for the program and not solely relying on its funds thereby increasing the number of beneficiaries.
The Wheel to Aid is one of the mechanisms of the Local Government of Tagum in giving Tagumenyos, at all walks of life, a chance to move forward and soon after brave the world.