Angeles mayor lauds Kapampangan ‘little people’ advocate

ANGELES CITY -- An employee of the City Government and an international dwarfism awareness advocate was given recognition by Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan, on Monday, August 14, at the City Hall.

Maria Glorian Tomen, an employee of the Angeles City Information Office and a resident of City of San Fernando in Pampanga paid a courtesy call to Mayor Pamintuan during the flag raising rites to cite her achievements and advocacies championing meaningful causes for the “little people” (LP) sector.

“Her attainments and efforts to achieve equality for her sector are really admirable and commendable. She epitomizes that our fellow LPs can stir a big impact towards creating a more socially responsible and aware community,” Pamintuan said.

Tomen attained her bachelor's degree at Holy Angel University and began her backing for equality through constant coordination with the Little People of America (LPA), a United States-based non-profit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families.

She was the first Filipina little person to attend the LPA Conference held in 2013, 2014 and 2017 in Washington DC, California, and Colorado, respectively. The said conference enabled her to learn more about the rights and welfare of the little people on the basis of the international laws which she wishes to cascade down to the Philippines.

In 2016, Tomen had the chance to voice out the current situation of the LPs in the Philippines to the First International Dwarfism leadership Summit in Berlin, Germany which is a congregation of more than 29 LP organizations from 26 different countries in the world.

In January 28, 2017, Tomen organized the country’s first event dedicated for the Little People of the Philippines (LPP) with the theme, “Big Dreams for Little People,” which was attended by more than 50 delegates from all over Manila and Pampanga.

The success of the first LPP summit resulted to an outpour of support from national government agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, and the National Council on Disability Affairs, which paved the way for the second LPP convention in May 2017.

To resonate the sector’s call for awareness, Tomen was also able to solicit support and encouragement from celebrity figures like Marian Rivera, Antoinette Taus, Jamie Rivera, Ynna Asistio, and Coco Martin as LPP ambassadors and well-wishers.

“We eye equal opportunities for people with dwarfism through the support from government institutions and the general public. Most LPs belong to the marginalized sector and not all are professionals and educated so they are forced to resort on menial and low-paying jobs making them vulnerable to abuses,” said Tomen citing that some LPs suffer from the physical effects of their condition (spine, joints and heart complications).

“Sometimes it is not our physical condition that hurts us every day but the derogatory approach of some. We are sometimes a laughing stock and that is what we would want to change, that we, too, are a potent and productive sector of the society,” Tomen added.

The 27-year-old advocate is set to speak before sectoral leaders and community stakeholders on September for the conference “Leaders Unite 2017: #Our Goals” which highlights the topic “United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals 2030: Fight Inequalities.”

A council resolution sponsored by Councilor Amos Rivera is set to be accorded by the 17th City Council to Tomen Tuesday, August 15 in recognition of her unwavering commitment in uplifting the lives of her fellow LPs in the community. (PR)
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