MANILA - The Filipina advocate who won the first ASEAN Prize will use the P1 million award to enhance autism programs in the Philippines.
Erlinda Uy Koe, chair emeritus of Autism Society Philippines (ASP) and chair of the ASEAN Autism Network (AAN), received a trophy and $20,000 cash prize last week for championing a cause that "foster the ASEAN identity, promote the ASEAN spirit, and champion the ASEAN way."
"It was clear from the start, the $20,000 will go to the advocacy," Koe told ANC's Headstart.
It will be used to support ASP's 96 chapters to allow them to replicate the programs we do on the national level, she said, emphasizing the need to have "localized, accessible, affordable and sustainable" autism therapy centers and seminars nationwide.
"I realized that for us to build a better society, a better future for our children with autism, hindi puwedeng sa bahay lang. Hindi puwedeng kami lang. Kailangan talaga work together," she said.
Autism organizations in Southeast Asia will also "get the autism profile of every country" so we can use it as the basis of future projects," she said.
"The fact that the first ASEAN Prize was given to autism advocacy is a statement that the ASEAN region, including the Philippines, has embraced inclusion for persons with autism and other special needs," she said.
"Ngayon gusto namin higher pa, not just awareness but accommodation and appreciation," she said.
(Now, we want it to be higher, not just awareness but accommodation and appreciation.)