The Senate today passed on third and final reading a bill declaring the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as an official medium of instruction and mode of communications in the country to promote the rights of deaf persons.
Senate Bill No. 1455, sponsored by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, vice-chairman of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, was approved with 20 affirmative votes, zero negative vote and no abstention.
“Let’s establish the official language for the deaf, the Filipino Sign Language, to promote the right of the deaf community in the Philippines to their identity, expression and communication,” Aquino said.
“The use of sign language in the Philippines dates back to 1596. FSL has since evolved to be an effective visual language that is well-researched, based on Filipino culture and history, and even incorporates indigenous elements,” he added.
Senator Nancy Binay, who introduced and co-sponsored the measure, explained that there was a need to identify and adopt standards that would guide the development and advancement, especially in communication, of the deaf and hard of hearing.
“The State should recognize and promote the use of sign languages embodying the specific cultural and linguistic identity of the Filipino deaf,” Binay said.
Binay said the bill would ensure that Filipinos who are hard of hearing are able to exercise their right to expression and opinion without prejudice to their condition.
Under the measure, FSL would become the medium of instruction in educating deaf Filipinos. Specifically, the bill would require that the FSL be taught as a separate subject in the curriculum for deaf learners followed by schools and educational institutions.
Similarly, FSL would be used as the official mode of communication used by government in all transactions involving the deaf, through FSL-trained interpreters in various government offices.
“This would be particularly helpful in our courts and police stations so that deaf Filipinos have a fair share in our justice system,” Aquino said.
He added that the bill would make FSL the “means of interpretation in broadcast media, delivering news and information consistently to the deaf community.” Once enacted into law, the bill would task the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWP), the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and other stakeholders to establish a national system of standards and accreditation for interpreting FSL in media.
Other co-authors of the bill are Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Joel Vullanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri. (AYA)
Author: Senate Press Release
Date Published: 28-August-2018
Link: Senate of the Philippines Official Website
You may download FSL Senate Bill 1455 in PDF format here.