The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) on Saturday pushed for continued support for people with Down syndrome as it joined the nation in the observance of National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month.
In a Facebook post, the PCO acknowledged the importance of promoting awareness of the Down Syndrome condition.
“Kaisa ng buong bansa ang Presidential Communications Office sa pagsulong ng inklusyon at higit na suporta para sa mga indibidwal na may Down Syndrome ngayong National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month (The Presidential Communications Office is one with the entire nation in pushing for the inclusion and support for people with Down Syndrome),” it said.
Statistics showed that one in every 800 babies born in the Philippines has Down syndrome, a genetic condition that occurs when an error in cell division results in an extra chromosome 21. Babies with Down syndrome have 47 chromosomes instead of the typical 46 chromosomes.
The condition can affect a person’s physical growth and cognitive ability, cause mild to moderate developmental issues, and present a higher risk of some health problems.
Over 100,000 Filipino households are living with a person with Down syndrome, based on the data released by the Down Syndrome Association of the Philippines Inc. (DSAPI) in 2014.
Former president and now House Senior Deputy Speaker Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Proclamation 157 declaring the month of February as the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month.
Under Proclamation 157, the DSAPI takes the lead in the celebration of the National Down Syndrome Consciousness Month.
The departments of Health, Education, Labor, and Social Welfare, as well as other related government agencies and appropriate non-government organizations, are urged to extend their utmost support and cooperation in the month-long event.
“Children with Down syndrome deserve the dignity and respect from everyone and need the State’s mantle of protection against abuse, violence and public indifference,” according to Proclamation 157.
“Nationwide awareness of the Down Syndrome condition will immensely help in educating the public on the great potential that children with Down syndrome possess to live normal lives,” it added.