De Lima appeals to public to stop viral ‘Boyet Challenge’
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Leila de Lima on Tuesday has appealed to the public that online challenges, which stigmatizes and discriminates against persons with disabilities (PWDs), be promptly stopped.
The senator’s statement came after an internet experiment called “The Boyet Challenge,” which dares people to imitate a character from a GMA TV drama series, “My Special Tatay,” went viral.
“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,” De Lima said in a dispatch from Camp Crame, where she is currently detained.
“Our struggle for real freedom and true equality in this country can never be won without removing all forms of discrimination and bigotry in our midst,” she added.
She noted that the “Boyet Challenge” have prompted condemnation from cause-oriented groups who deemed it “unethical” and “illegal” citing a provision under Republic Act 9442, which penalizes those who ridicule or vilify PWDs.
“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,” De Lima said.
With this, the senator urged that Senate Bill No. 1433 or the proposed Autism Care Act of 2017, be prioritized.
The said measure, which De Lima authored in 2017, seeks the creation of the Autism Council of the Philippines as well as provide for the “comprehensive training program for health providers to capacitate them in handling people with autism and assist them on their way to becoming productive members of society.”
The bill also aimed at increasing public awareness on psychological condition as a national health issue. /jpv
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