The CNMI Council on Developmental
Disabilities is currently conducting a Disability
Registry Survey throughout the CNMI to make it easier for
the Council to keep in contact with those with
Executive director Tony C. Chong
said the survey is strictly for those with developmental
He cited two types of disabilities:
developmental disability that one acquires from birth to
22 years, and a more mainstream disability, which is a
disability by age or health.
Our main focus are the ones
with developmental disabilities, Chong said.
He said there is a CNMI-wide count
of about 3,000 individuals living with developmental
disability in the CNMI, 800 of whom are children in the
Those are big numbers. Any
number of disabilities is a big number, Chong said.
He said that services provided by
organizations for those with disabilities are very
At the same time, the number of
individuals with developmental disabilities is going up
and the organizations and agencies who service these
people can only do so much.
Sometimes, they can only
provide to so many people because funding is an
issue, Chong said.
He said the CDD has already
concluded the Disability Registry Survey on Rota and is
now halfway through on Tinian.
When we visited Tinian and
Rota, we got more than we expected. The survey will help
us keep in close contact with individuals and families
with disabilities, Chong said.
Chong explained that conducting the
survey even on smaller islands such as Tinian and Rota
is very difficult because when you meet with
somebody to do the census, sometimes it takes more than
He said the survey is conducted in
a way that each house is visited in order for the program
to be successful.
Another primary reason why I
authorized this is because we want to know who these
people are and try to get them to participate in
workshops that they can learn a lot from, Chong
Chong said the Disability Registry
Survey for Saipan will be conducted in the next fiscal
One of the major purposes of the
survey is to advocate for people with disabilities and
their families. We also want to make sure that
those providing services to people with disabilities are
providing the services they are supposed to, Chong
(SAIPAN) The celebration of October as National
Disability Employment Awareness Month was proclaimed
during a ceremony yesterday at the Pedro P. Tenorio
Multi-Purpose Center in Susupe.
This years national theme is Workers with
Disabilities: Talent for a Winning Team. Several
activities have been lined up by the Office of Vocational
Rehabilitation to mark this month-long occasion.
Gov. Benigno R. Fitial led the proclamation signing
yesterday morning and reminded everyone in the community
that qualified individuals with disabilities are an
emerging new culture of the nations workforce.
We must take it upon ourselves to draw on their
many and diverse talents and creativity, he said,
adding that the community should recognize the
contributions of individuals with disabilities as well as
to ensure equal opportunity in the workforce.
OVR director Margarita R. Olopai-Taitano and State
Rehabilitation Council chair Gregorio Kilili
C. Sablan welcomed the guests during the event signing,
while John Allen Cabrera, Jason Teregeyo, and Chad
Merfalen helped in reading the proclamation letter.
Statewide Independent Living Council chair Jerry
McVicar closed the event with a short speech. Fr. Isaac
M. Ayuyu and Pastor Joe Enteria led the invocation during
OVR stressed its mission during the event that is to
increase employment and promote independence among
eligible individuals with disabilities throughout the
OVR will spearhead the planning and coordination of
activities and events with the support of other programs
also serving people with disabilities. The effort to
educate the American public about issues related to
disability and employment began back in 1945, when
Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in
October each year as National Employ the Physically
In 1962, the word physically was removed
to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of
individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988,
Congress expanded the week to a month and, changed the
name to what we know today: National Disability
Employment Awareness Month.