A STUDENT with special needs led 24 others as the first batch of graduates of the Hilot Wellness Massage program in Barangay Banilad, Mandaue City, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2020.
Mark Carmelotes, in his mid 20s and a person with intellectual disability, emerged on top of his class for his “excellent performance and exceptional retention of instructions.”
Intellectual disability, as defined by the American Association on Intellectual and Dvelopmental Disabilities, is a disability characterized by significant limitations both in intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers a range of everyday social and practical skills.
Despite his condition, Carmelotes led his fellow students in completing the 18-day program spearheaded by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda), in cooperation with Armson Polytechnic Institute Inc. and the office of Cebu Rep. Emmarie “Lolypop” Ouano-Dizon (Cebu, 6th District).
Carmelotes has been recognized as one of the best in the batch.
According to Zharon Ramirez, class trainer, Carmelotes was able to cope with discussions and the training.
“When I gave instructions, he automatically got them. It was easy for him to comprehend. I never saw him struggle with the activities,” Ramirez added.
Carmelotes’s brother Roy, a nurse by profession, also enrolled in the program to acquire a new skill while supporting and accompanying Mark.
Armi Lopez-Garcia, Armson Polytechnic Institute Inc. administrator and honorary consul to Russia, said the Hilot Wellness Massage program is open to whoever is interested.
“We are very happy that one of us here has excelled. We are not discriminating against anybody. We welcome anybody who would like to learn the skills,” Garcia said.
She maintains that the Hilot Massage program will produce skilled workers in the hospitality industry, which is most beneficial with the influx of tourists.
“With the demands in the tourism and hospitality industry, especially hotels, there is really a need for (massage) therapists,” she added
National Certificate (NC) II skills certificates were conferred on the graduates of the program. (RGT)