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Tulfo alarmed over rising cases of autism in PH

April 27, 2023 Camille P. Balagtas 269 views

SENATOR Raffy Tulfo expressed alarm over the continued spike in the number of people diagnosed with autism in the country, which include even those without family history of autism.

Tulfo, who made the statement in time for the observance of the National Autism Awareness Month this April, is also pushing for Congress’ swift passage of his Senate Bill (SB) No. 752 seeking to address and increase support for persons with autism.

He filed the measure as early as July 2022.

“The time is now upang seryosohin ng pamahalaan ang problema sa autism at kumilos na talaga para hanapan ito ng solusyon.

Komprehensibong research and development ang kailangan para malaman ang mga susunod na hakbang,” he said.

Data from the Department of Health (DOH) shows that the number of Filipinos with autism has ballooned from 500,000 in 2008 to one million in 2018. It has doubled in just 10 years.

Notably, several studies abroad have concluded that mothers who take paracetamol while pregnant have a higher chance of bearing a child with autism.

However, Tulfo noted that while experts in different parts of the world continue to conduct studies and research about autism, they are yet to find a scientific answer as to what causes autism in a baby.

Should SB. No. 752 be passed into law, Tulfo noted that DOH, in collaboration with other government agencies, is tasked with conducting evidence-based research and epidemiological surveys to determine the cause, find medicine, and provide proper help and government subsidies to the families of persons with autism.

Under the proposed measure, the DOH and Department of Education (DepEd) are likewise mandated to create a program for early screening and detection for children with developmental delays that can be attributed to autism. This is also a way to ensure that the central PWD registry is updated.

SB No. 752 or the “Autism Cooperation, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act of 2022” also seeks to protect persons with autism from discrimination and provide them with equal employment opportunities, as well as comfortable accommodation in accessing all types of transportation.