Deaf Filipinos March to Support Caption and Sign Language Mandate Bills

On September 12th, approximately 150 deaf people marched to the House of Representatives in the Philippines to push for the passage of two bills mandating the use of sign language in court (HB4631) and on televised news programs (HB 4121). Many of the people who marched were members of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center. The Center gathered over 100,000 signatures calling for the enactment of the bills. The Center expressed in a letter to the House Speaker, Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., that the “120,000 documented deaf … Filipinos will definitely benefit from such practices, making it possible for [the deaf] to [comprehend] timely and relevant information.”

Currently, major news programs in the capital city, Manila, do not use subtitles or sign language insets. According to the Center, “although some regional stations have started utilizing sign language insets with the help of non-government organizations, this practice is unfortunately not carried out by their mother stations.” Lawmakers also cited data from the Center that demonstrated a need for interpreters during investigative and judicial proceedings due to the high incidence of criminal cases that involve deaf persons. The authors of the bill also stated that it is the responsibility of the State to provide interpreters during any government proceedings including police investigations and court or public hearings.
Full Story:
1. Deaf People March to Demand Sign Language in Courts, TV News, Disability News Asia, Sept. 15, 2011, available at
http://www.gmanews.tv/story/ 232189/deaf-people-march-to-demand-sign-language-in-courts-tv-news

2. Gerry Baldo, Bill Seeking Presence of Court Interpreters for Deaf Pushed, Sept. 13, 2011, available at
http://www.tribuneonline.org/ metro/20110913met1.html

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