The evolving struggle of Filipinos with disabilities and their organizations throughout the years have resulted in numerous gains. While there are indeed reasons to celebrate, there are more reasons that underscore the imperative for persons with disabilities to continue organizing for societal transformation. Recent local and international developments also present more than ever opportunities to view and engage disability as a legitimate development issue. These come with an increasing appreciation of the role of organizations of persons with disabilities as ka-pasan in reshaping development and in pursuing visions of disability justice.
This study is an attempt to reflect on the evolving experiences of organizations of persons with disabilities in Las Piñas City in carrying out political action for transformative change. From this overarching theme, the study seeks to answer these particular questions: What was and is the current context of the organizing of persons with disabilities at the barangay and city levels of Las Piñas City? What innovations in processes and strategies were carried out in the organizing of persons with disabilities at the barangay association and city-wide federation level? What are the gains and challenges that resulted from and emerged in the organizing of persons with disabilities in Las Piñas City? Based on the findings of the study, how do critical factors in the organizing of persons with disabilities contribute to or detract from the agenda of empowerment and transformative change? Based on the findings of the study, how can the organizing of persons with disabilities be reframed to make the process more disability-responsive, inclusive, and contributory to the furtherance of the advocacy to center disability as a critical area for social development in the Philippines?
Underpinned by critical, emancipatory and feminist standpoint research perspectives, the study attempts to answer these questions by immersing with organizations of persons with disabilities in Las Piñas City (Pakikiisa at Pakikipamuhay), by joining them in circles of conversations, dialogue, reflection and learning (Kwentuhan at Samaaralan) and by reviewing and analyzing existing documents with them (Pagbabasa at pagsusuri ng mga kwento at dokumento). The stories shared by the five barangay associations and the city federation are used to identify, interrogate and critically reflect on strategies and innovations, gains and challenges, and critical factors in organizing among persons with disabilities.
Based on these critical reflections, the study presents possible reframing of disability as Ka-pasan and re-envisioning of community organizing in the context of Kapasan. The study also advances several recommendations for strengthening organizations of persons with disabilities, enhancing organizing among persons with disabilities, and furthering disability as a critical area of social development practice in the Philippines. The study ends with an initial exploration of disability justice as an alternative approach and vision in building better communities that include everyone.