Persons with Disabilities

A person with a disability pleads for help with skills development

The ILO-UK Skills for Prosperity programme joined hands with national partners to help persons with disabilities enjoy equal access to high-quality, relevant skills development opportunities.

Feature | 02 December 2022
Bryan Tapayan Cansancio. ©ILO
My name is Bryan Tapayan Cansancio. I’m 33 years old. I am a mason from Toledo City on the Philippine island of Cebu. I am also an athlete.

My life as an athlete started when recruiters saw me at a mall in Banilad outside Cebu City. They were recruiting athletes, and they asked me if I would be interested in trying out. I didn't need to think twice about it! We soon began meeting up and I started training at a sports complex.

Our group is named Team DATES, standing for Differently Able Talent Entertainment and Sports. I competed in Bulacan province. I then participated in the long jump and sprinting in Quezon, near Manila, where I was able to win the second prize in the competition.

When I started training, we were given a monthly allowance of 10,200 Philippine pesos (US$183). But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to go back home to Cebu. Our allowance has been cut off since December 2021.

Since then, it’s been a struggle to find money for my everyday expenses. I work hard so that when I have extra money, I can give it to my mother. She’s old and sick.

Since I don’t have a stable job, side jobs are my source of work.

I look for ways to earn money by doing masonry work, piling hollow blocks. I get quite a few calls for work as a mason. People hire me for that.

Sometimes, when no one contacts me to do masonry, I operate the fan at a barbeque stall in return for a little food.
I have also sold bottled water wherever I could, especially at City Hall. It was hard. I had to carry it on my shoulders, and I don’t walk normally. I also don’t have my own transport. But despite all this, I work very hard because I don’t have any other way to make money.

This pandemic has been very hard. We’ve all been struggling, especially persons with disabilities who don’t have food to eat. I’m lucky enough to be able to move, but there are others who can’t.

I wish I could get a better job, if I could find one, because where I live now, it’s hard if you don’t have a stable job. In my line of work there are no benefits like the Social Security System or PhiHealth (the country’s universal health coverage scheme). It’s really hard.

If someone were to teach me, similar to how I learnt to be a mason and a carpenter, that would be great. I would learn new skills so I could become a painter, or a welder, something like that.

Fast facts:
  • The ILO-UK Skills for Prosperity Programme in the Philippines works with national partners to help persons with disabilities like Bryan, as well as other vulnerable groups, obtain equal access to high-quality, relevant skills development opportunities. This is to ensure that ultimately they can improve their employability and increase their productivity.
  • The programme's goal is to enhance gender equality, social inclusion, quality and relevance of technical and vocational education and training (TVET) and skills development systems, helping Filipino workers gain access to and progress in the labour market, as well as become more resilient to changes in future skills needs.
  • The programme works with the NGO Project Inclusion Network (PIN) in implementing the Accessible TVET Activates Opportunities for Persons with Disability (AcTVET) initiative. AcTVET has documented the perceptions, challenges, and successes of persons with disabilities who participate in or want access to TVET. AcTVET also supports mainstreaming initiatives for persons with disabilities across the programmes run by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) through capacity development and technical assistance. TESDA recognizes and fully supports these efforts as important steps towards improving its policies and programmes, working towards an ample and effective disability-inclusive delivery of TVET services.
  • Raising the voice of persons with disabilities through AcTVET’s research, consultations and pilot-testing of inclusive guidance and tools – aiming not only to increase the access of persons with disabilities to TVET, but also increase their participation in TVET governance in the country.