Manila, Philippines — In the 2000 Paralympic Games held in Sydney, Filipina powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta made history when she brought home a bronze medal – a first for the Philippines. But before she brought pride to the country, Dumapong-Ancheta who contracted polio at an early age, used to push her wheelchair to the gym just to attend her trainings, rain or shine. Regular public transportation was a challenge.
Today, Dumapong-Ancheta is one of the board members of the Philippine Paralympic Committee (PPC), the national association tasked to develop Parasports in the Philippines. Together with other officials and coaches of PPC she helps hone Filipino athletes with disabilities so they, too, may have a shot at winning in international competitions.
Unlike Dumapong-Ancheta, PPC’s current roster of athletes can now go to their trainings and competitions a lot easier.
Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) recently turned over a 29-seater Toyota Coaster to the PPC as part of its commitment to support Filipino Para athletes and help uplift Parasports in the country.
The donation was made under Toyota’s global corporate initiative – Start Your Impossible, which aims to promote inclusivity and sustainability by opening opportunities to Para athletes and helping them seek avenues that can help them realize their dreams.
“We are proud to be a part of this advocacy because it allows us to help change people’s lives by enabling them to overcome challenges and reach their aspirations,” said TMP President Satoru Suzuki during the turnover ceremony held at the PPC grounds in Pasig City.
Aligned with PPC’s mandate, Toyota’s Start Your Impossible initiative also aspires to raise the public’s awareness and appreciation of the potential of people with disability, a cause being championed by PPC’s president Michael Barredo.
“Ever since we started, having a bus or van to be used by our officials, coaches, and athletes to move around was one of the top priorities on our “wish list”. Toyota’s donation of a coaster, will help alleviate one of the most difficult challenges persons with disabilities face day-to-day which is mobility,” said Barredo as he accepted the Coaster on behalf of the PPC.
“By donating the Coaster to the PPC for the use of its athletes and officials, (TMP has extended) a big help. As Mr. Barredo said, it has been 20 years since PPC started and yet transportation has always been a challenge. For me, this is the first step,” added Dumapong-Ancheta.
The Coaster donation is just one of TMP’s efforts under the Start Your Impossible program. Last year, TMP chose the PPC and its Asian Para Games swimming gold medalist, Ernie Gawilan to be the primary beneficiaries of last year’s Toyota Classics – a benefit concert series that aims to support charities across Asia.
During the Philippine leg of the Toyota Classics in November 2018 when Toyota’s Start Your Impossible was first introduced in the country, PPC and Ernie Gawilan received a grant of one million pesos worth of multi-sport wheelchairs from TMP on top of the Toyota Coaster.
With these various steps towards the vision of mobility for all, TMP and other Toyota units all over the world hope to inspire and encourage members of the community to challenge their limits, celebrate the human spirit, and start their own impossible. Toyota is the official worldwide mobility partner of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).
For more information on the Start Your Impossible initiative, visit https://startyourimpossible.asia.