This issue went controversial a couple of months ago and now that the dust has just settled in, we may be able to view it in a more level-headed perspective. I won’t be adding my own opinion on this matter lest I be accused of being biased although I do have already formed my personal leaning on the situation. I will just use this post as timeline documentation on what transpired as of today (November 6, 2018). I will not include events that are unrelated to this. Let my blog readers form their own opinions based on this.
For purposes of clarity from among my non-Filipino and international friends, I would first introduce the two central characters in this mayhem:
- Mocha Uson – She is a Filipina singer, dancer, model, controversial blogger, and former appointive public official. She is also co-founder of the group Mocha Girls. She is also one of the powerful figures who actively campaigned for the election of current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. She has a strong following in social media with nearly six million online followers of her Mocha Uson Blog. She served as a member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) from January 2017 through her appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
- Drew Olivar – He is another Filipino social media blogger noted for his bold and imprudent words and actions although he is a lot less popular than Mocha
with not more than half a million followers. He posts mostly satire and video antics. One very important thing Mocha and Drew are in common is that they are both avid Duterte supporters. They even had a one-hour radio program which is currently aired daily at DWIZ, “Tambalang Mocha at Drew”.
September 14 – Mocha uploaded this video in her Facebook blog as their opening spiel before the start of their radio show.
Note: I used the raw video footage from YouTube without some commentaries and other stuff so that viewers may not be influenced by them. I also did not put a subtitle-caption.
September 15 – The National Council on Disability Affairs Executive Director Carmen Zubiaga, created an FB group named “DEAF SECTOR STAND UP” in order to address the situation “with reference to the video making fun of sign language.” She invited all her friends who are members of the Filipino deaf community including myself to join the group and deal with the “insulting video”. Later on, the group members invited lawyer-friends and other members of the media to share their thoughts. Prominent people from the deaf community headed by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Carol Dagami joined the group and they prepared a strategy on how to file a “class suit”.
September 16 – The video was removed from the Mocha Uson Blog Facebook page after they were bombarded by numerous comment posts attacking the two and expressing their anger on the mockery and insult to sign language and the deaf community.
September 17 – Both Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar made a public apology in their Facebook posts. They also created a personal apology in the video.
Note: I again used the raw video footage from YouTube without some commentaries and other stuff. I again did not put a subtitle-caption.
September 18 – Mainstream media and some politicians took notice of this and formed their own opinions. They also suggested sanctions against the two bloggers. These include Senator Nancy Binay, the principal author of Filipino Sign Language Bill, Senator Grace Poe and Bam Aquino. Also, premier universities like the UP College of Education Student Council and Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde made their official statements condemning whom they considered as an “atrocious act”.
September 19 – The Commission on Human Rights appeared in the picture by promising to conduct an investigation on the matter.
September 20 – Representing the Filipino Deaf community, Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Carolyn Dagani filed a complaint against Uson and blogger Drew Olivar to the Office of the Ombudsman for violating the RA 7277 and 9442 or the Magna Carta for the Disabled Persons, RA 6713 of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act, RA 386 or the Civil Code of the Philippines and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Dagani and the rest of the deaf community were offended by what Uson and Olivar did in the video. According to the group, Olivar, in particular, made hand gesticulations and body movements, which from the perspective of fluent deaf signers are mere gibberish. For those who are unfamiliar with sign language, his actions can even be interpreted as sexual connotations.
September 23 – In a letter sent to President Duterte, Mocha Uson resigned her post as Assistant Secretary of PCOO.
October 3 – In front of the Senate hearing on the budget of the PCOO, Uson formally announced her resignation. She stated that the most compelling reason for leaving the government service was due to congress “holding her hostage for not passing the 2019 budget of PCOO if she would not appear on the hearings”.
October 5 – Despite her resignation, the Office of Ombudsman starts the probe on Mocha Uson’s Case.
For further reference, I included the link on Republic Act 9442 or the Amended Magna Carta for Disabled Persons and the separate Implementing Rules and Regulation here.
As a final note, I added below the DZMM TeleRayo Radio discourse about Mocha Sign Language video controversy which prompted the Philippine Federation of the Deaf to file a case against the Ombudsman. The legal opinion of Atty. Claire Castro was explained here. This time, I added English subtitles for the understanding of the Filipino Deaf Community and my international readers.
There you have it, folks!!!
PS: Since both of them will now be often mentioned by the deaf community, the Philippine Federation of the Deaf assigned sign names for them.