Senator condemns ‘Boyet Challenge’

DETAINED Senator Leila de Lima yesterday slammed the promoters of “Boyet Challenge” that mimicks the mannerism of people with autism saying it is a form of discrimination and bigotry.

De Lima said she learned about the new Internet experiment, supposedly patterned after the lead character in GMA Network series “My Special Tatay.”

The online challenge provoked protests from cause-oriented groups saying it is unethical as well as illegal, citing RA 9442’s provision on penalizing persons who ridicule or vilify PWDs.

“I fully agree with the sentiments expressed and opinions conveyed by these groups. Maling-mali na gawing puntirya ng katatawanan at panlilibak ang mga taong may autism o anumang kapansanan,” De Lima said.

She explained that people with autism do not have a disease, but merely a different ability which is the ability to see the world in a spectrum of colors only they can appreciate and see.

“They are not abnormal. They are special,” De Lima added.

“Sa dami na ng hamong hinaharap ng mga taong may kapansanan at kanilang pamilya, dadagdag pa ba tayo sa pang-aapi at kawalang malasakit sa kanila?” she said.

She made an appeal to netizens to immediately stop the “Boyet Challange” and other online projects while urging the public to discontinue participating in similar platforms that breed stigmatism of PWDs (person with disabilities) and engender discrimination and prejudice against the marginalized and vulnerable groups in the society.

She also asked her colleagues in Congress to prioritize the passing of her Senate Bill No. 1433 or the proposed “Autism Care Act of 2017,”which proposes the creation of Autism Council of the Philippines and aims to increase public awareness about this psychological condition as a national health issue.