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As the Fraternity celebrates its 80th year this coming year, another 1100 wheelchairs will be distributed to differently-abled Filipinos with the help of local government units, non-government organizations and student organizations. ETM 6 turn-over ceremony and advocacy walk will be held in Quezon City on February 16, 2013 in partnership with the local government and student organization from UP Diliman, specifically UP Association of Biology Majors, UP Pre-Medical Honor Society, UP Pre-Medial Society, UP Pugad Sayk, UP Psych Soc and UP Zoological Society.

Empowerment Through Mobility is an annual project of the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity that started in 2007. It is organized as an effort to help indigent Filipinos who are in dire need of a wheelchair, and who desire to improve their lives despite their physical disabilities. Through a partnership with the international non-profit Christian organization Free Wheelchair Mission (FWM), the Fraternity serves as a spark of hope to its potential beneficiaries in the Philippines, reaching out to more than 4950 indigent disabled Filipinos nationwide to date.

FWM operates to supply easy-to-construct wheelchairs to needy persons with disability worldwide and was founded by Don Schoendorfer, a mechanical engineer. Delivered as a set of unassembled parts, the wheelchairs have been designed to be easily constructible and transportable. It has been the objective of FWM to involve different volunteer organizations worldwide in building the wheelchairs and distributing them, to promote empowerment among communities with physically-handicapped members.

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An idea first conceptualized by an alumnus of the Fraternity, Brod Rufino Tan Co Φ’71 brought up the idea to the Fraternity of distributing wheelchairs to physically-disabled Filipinos across the country which was then organized by both student and alumni members. Potential partners were gathered, and the delivery and distribution of wheelchairs were jointly implemented. Student members were primarily involved in negotiating with the Bureau of Customs regarding the entry of the wheelchair shipments, organizing the distribution of the donated wheelchairs, fulfilling the requirements of donation as specified by FWM, and mobilizing organizations in constructing the wheelchairs. Through testimonials and information gathering from beneficiaries, sustainability of the wheelchair donations is ensured.

To date, the Fraternity, through its vast network of members nationwide, has facilitated the distribution of 4950 wheelchairs to different hospitals, health centers, and local government units nationwide. The Fraternity has also enlisted the support of different government and private agencies in implementing the project. Nine shipments of 550 wheelchair sets each have been delivered within five years of implementation since the project’s conceptualization in 2007. And every year the project grows bigger and better as more partners (Student Organizations, Non-Government Organizations and Local Government Units) join us in reaching out to our differently-abled countrymen.

The Fraternity has committed to continuing Empowerment Through Mobility. This year, 1200 wheelchairs were shipped in time for ETM 6, which was held in Quezon City Circle. These wheelchairs were distributed to an extended number of municipalities and provinces. The Fraternity also endeavors to reach out to the growing elderly population in the country through targeted partnerships with select organizations. An advocacy walk in coordination with the City Government of Manila was done with ETM 3 and in coordination with the Quezon City Government in ETM 4 and ETM 5. ETM 6 turn-over ceremony and advocacy walk will be held in Quezon City on February 16, 2013 in partnership with the local government and student organization from UP Diliman, specifically UP Association of Biology Majors, UP Pre-Medical Honor Society, UP Pre-Medial Society, UP Pugad Sayk, UP Psych Soc and UP Zoological Society.

 In addition, the Department of Social Welfare and Development recently recognized the Fraternity as part of their Registry of Social Welfare Agencies. With this partnership, we may now apply for DSWD endorsement for tax-exemption. This will greatly help the Fraternity in the importation of donations such as wheelchairs with the purpose of serving more people.

While the project supports the marginalized and the underserved, it also involves, inspires and empowers students and college-based organizations to venture in more concrete and long-term socio-civic endeavors as we believe the tasks and the cause of ETM are of a scale greater than any single group can handle. A run for the benefit of ETM has been organized this January 12, 2013 to raise awareness of our differently-abled countrymen and raise funds.

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Established in August 1933 by the UP College of Medicine's best medical students, the PHI KAPPA MU (Fraternity of the College of Medicine) continues to uphold its tested tradition of Excellence, Leadership, Service and Brotherhood in the College, University and in our country.

Through the Fraternity's ideals and pillars, her Loyal Sons continue to lead, innovate and excel in the practice of medicine worldwide and in preserving the honor and integrity of the medical profession.

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