Philippines School of Prosthetics and Orthotics Handover Ceremony

Video Message

Your Excellency Leni Robredo, Vice President of the Philippines; the Honorable Joy Belmonte, Mayor of Quezon City; Dr. Gemiliano Aligui, Vice-President for Academic Affairs, University of the EastRamon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center; Mr. Carson Harte, Chief Executive of Exceed; participants of the ceremony. Today, I am truly delighted to hand over Philippines School of Prosthetics and Orthotics to the University of the East.

The guiding principle of The Nippon Foundation is “One World One Family”. We share pains and hopes and support each other cutting across boundaries of politics, beliefs, religion, ethnicity and national borders. We conduct humanitarian activities globally to eradicate prejudice and discrimination that still exist in many parts of the world. In particular, to build an inclusive society in which persons with disability can become active members of society, we support them study at higher education institutions and promote disability employment. PSPO, which Exceed has been managing, is a very important initiative that forms the core of our activities. I would like to express my utmost respect to Mr. Carson Harte for your dedicated efforts over many years to promote the growth and development of the school.

Let me share with you a story from 11 years ago at a time the decision was made to inaugurate PSPO. Ms. Raissa Laurel was an aspiring law student at that time. She had been badly injured by a handmade bomb and was hospitalized to have both of her legs amputated below the knees. She said, “I want to go back to school even without my legs. This was God’s will” I was deeply touched with many Filipino citizens. I promised her that I would give her prosthetic legs, and requested Mr. Carson Harte to make them. This became one of the first works of PSPO Later, I was happy to hear from Raissa that she was practicing boxing with her prosthetic legs and that she had delivered a speech, on behalf of persons with disability, at the United Nations’ High-Level Meeting on Disability and Development.

Thus began the activities of PSPO, which is now the first education and training institution in the Philippines to meet the standards of the ISPO. It has graduated some 100 professionals to date. Through production of prosthetics and orthotics, PSPO supports people with disability regain their courage and self-esteem and participate in society. These activities can become a foundation for creating an inclusive society that I aspire to.

Let us continue to work together in creating an inclusive society in the Philippines that enables everyone to deliver their potential. As soon as the coronavirus pandemic subsides, I would like to visit PSPO as the first destination in my overseas travel. Again, I am delighted to be able to hand over PSPO to the University of the East, and believe that PSPO will continue to give hope to many people. Thank you very much.

*This video message is available at The Nippon Foundation YouTube.