Yay! First 500,000th Visits!!!

Happy 500,00th visits

Yehey! I reached the biggest milestone in my blogging career! I reached my first 500,000th visits!

Wow! I have been blogging for twelve years! According to my WordPress Stats, I have now published 435 blog posts. I also accumulated 285 email followers and 56 WordPress.com followers. I achieved the biggest post view per month this January 2019 at 8,600 views. This is when I posted the article about a deaf person who committed suicide which also received the biggest post view per day with 3,995. The blog was posted on January 23, 2019.

My biggest referrer is from Search Engines like Google with 229,614 searches followed by Facebook with 13,595. My all-time dependable Reddit Style Feed deafread.com sent 11,225 site traffic.

My top searched person is of course, “Marlee Matlin” with 1,784 followed by the Filipino movie with a deaf actor “Dinig Sana Kita” at 1,616 and Filipino Sign Language with 1,465. My top page is naturally the home page with 187,793. A distant second is about Former Isabela Governor Grace Padaca with 30,274. The third is my history of deaf education history in the Philippines and the fourth is about Spider-Man.

My top visitors per country are from the Philippines, followed by the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, India and Australia.

To my faithful readers, thank you, thank you very much. Thank you very much, Father God, for giving me the strength to continue documenting the activities and triumphs of the Filipino Deaf.

Now, on to my next 550,000th visitors. 🙂

“Isa Pa With Feelings” Actors sign Deaf and Hearing

cargel.jpg

Last week, I got hold of this image being shared on Twitter and eventually on Facebook which landed in the Filipino deaf community pages and groups. It was, I guess, owned by a certain @cargel_nation2, as what appeared on the bottom of the image. After a careful search, I found out that the owner of this image did not say who he/she is. Only that he/she is a Carlo Aquino – Angelica Panganiban Loveteam Fan. But I am pretty sure the original image was taken from the Black Sheep Production, the producers of the movie “Isa Pa With Feelings” which I and my deaf students/alumni are excited to watch for free this October 18 courtesy of “Lawyers and Friends for Maine”. 🙂

However, I noticed that the signs were incomplete. These signs were not a one-hand movement but a combination of two actions. People who want to learn sign language might get confused and understood this as a static sign. So, I went to my dusty old Adobe Fireworks software and created an animated version (GIF) of the signs. The movements are not that complex. I simply copied the hand, used the Rubber Stamp and Blur tools and pasted it meticulously to generate the second sign. Lastly, I combined the two using the State command to create an illusion of movement.

To my dear readers, introducing, the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) of the words Deaf and Hearing!!!!

carlo deaf animated gif1.gif
Carlo Aquino signs DEAF.

The FSL sign for “deaf” is very much the same as American Sign Language. The index finger first points on the lower part of the ear lobe. Then, the finger touches the side of the lips. As far as I can remember, this is the only sign the Filipino deaf uses to introduce themselves. Pointing both the ear and lips might describe that they cannot hear and speak. Even though we know that there are many deaf who can speak, this sign has been deeply rooted in their culture that any variations or changes on this sign never became widespread use.

Carlo Aquino plays the deaf tutor in the movie. He is a hearing person in real life.

maine sign hearing animated gif
Maine Mendoza signs HEARING.

This FSL sign for “hearing” is the one being used by the majority of the Filipino deaf. The first handshape is like a bent “C” near the ear without touching it. The second hand-movement is elongated or long-shaped “O”, also near the ear. The movement needs to be done many times and in quick successions. The sign means a sound can pass through a person’s ears and reverberates or in continuing effect.

The FSL sign for hearing is different from ASL. In ASL, the emphasis is on the person’s ability to talk or speak, so the sign points to the mouth or lips. To compare below is the ASL sign for a “Hearing Person”.

In the movie, Maine Mendoza plays the hearing person who wants to learn sign language.  Happy signing!!!!

PS: I did not personally ask the permission of the image uploader to use his photo. I hope he won’t mind. 🙂

Lawyers for Maine sponsors MCCID for Free Block Screening of New Movie

isa pa with feelings fb post

Our school Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf was fortunate to be selected by a group of lawyers and friends of Filipino Actress Maine Mendoza to watch her forthcoming movie for free this October 18.

The “Lawyers & Friends for Maine” group through one of their members Atty. Christine Lejano emailed our school inviting 50 deaf students and alumni to watch “Isa Pa With Feelings (One More Time With Feelings)” including free rides from our selected pick-up point going to the movie theater at Power Plant Cinema at Rockwell Mall in Makati City.

Isa Pa With Feelings is an upcoming Filipino romantic-comedy film starring Maine Mendoza and Carlo Aquino, directed by Prime Cruz. It set to be released on October 16, 2019, under Black Sheep Productions. It stars popular young TV and Movie Actress Maine Mendoza who is learning sign language and being tutored by Actor Carlo Aquino. Mendoza is from GMA-7 while Aquino is from rival ABS-CBN 2 which also produces the movie.

Philippine Actress Maine Mendoza clarifies misconception about deaf people

MANILA, Philippines — Popular Philippine actress Maine Mendoza has cleared a common misconception that deaf people have no voice.

In her Twitter account, the “Eat Bulaga” host reposted an infographic about deaf people.

“YES YES! Let me just clear this common misconception about deaf people. DEAF PEOPLE HAVE VOICES; but many prefer to sign (using FSL: Filipino Sign Langauge) because it is their first language and their right. Therefore, the term Deaf-Mute is not right dahil HINDI PO SILA PIPI, (because they are not mute)” Maine wrote.

maine tweet about deaf culture.fw

Maine stars as a sign language student in the upcoming film “Isa Pa With Feelings” with Kapamilya actor Carlo Aquino, who plays a deaf character.

 

Can a deaf person be a reliable witness?

I chanced upon an article in Nikkei Asian Review which exposes the misleadings done by hugely popular internet search engines Google and Baidu which forcefully directs us to “floods of advertisements and micro-targeted results” and recommended the use of lesser-known but becoming increasingly popular sites such as ByteDance of China and DuckDuckGo of the US. I got curious about these two alternative sites so I tried them out.

I opened only the DuckDuckGo site since the other one is only for the Chinese market. The screen looks like the minimalist web style of Google.com. But what’s strikingly good is what appears at the bottom of the search box which says “The search engine that doesn’t track you.”, the tagline “Privacy, simplified” and the popup box advising us that “Your data shouldn’t be for sale.”

I then tried typing “deaf Philippines”. I was pleasantly surprised that the top search was rightfully one of the first non-profit foundations that work to educate impoverished deaf in Bohol, followed by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf Wikipedia article which I created in January 2008 using my Wiki name Jomanila. Our school for the deaf landed in the top 20. However, I was a bit shocked that the hugely popular and limelight hogging college in Manila is nowhere to be found in the top 50 results.

Deaf on a witness stand
Deaf on a witness stand (not the actual event)
Google Photo courtesy of http://www.interpretereducation.org

Enough of the long intro. I like to focus on the article in Philippine Star Online Edition that did not even rank among the top results in Google which I only discovered in Duckduckgo. It’s about a case of a “deaf-mute” (a term used in the article which I so much disdain) person who became an eyewitness in the rape-slay of a single lady, Erica. Here is the entire story as narrated by a famous Filipino lawyer, Atty. Jose C. Sison which appeared in his column on June 27, 2017:

Deaf-mute witness
Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) – June 27, 2017 – 4:00pm

All persons who can perceive, and perceiving, can make known their perception to others may be witnesses in cases being tried in court. But are deaf mutes competent witnesses? What must be shown so that they can qualify as witnesses? These are among the issues resolved in this case of Erica.

Erica was single and working as a bookkeeper in a Credit Cooperative located in Manila. On the first working day of the year, she reported to the office bringing with her a camera to take pictures of her officemates for souvenir before going back to her hometown on the occasion of their town fiesta. At 5 o’clock, she left the office bringing with her the camera and P3,000 cash money for expenses in the celebration.

She arrived at about 7:30 pm and alighted along the highway about 300 meters from her house. Across the highway was a waiting shed with four persons inside, namely Andy and his brother Tony alias “Baba” because of his elongated chin, Rolly, alias “Boy Tattoo,” and Sergio, alias “Pipi” because he was deaf mute. The four just came from a beer house where they had a drinking spree with four other barkadas since daytime. They left when they got drunk going to a rice field. On the way, they pass by the waiting shed where Andy and Rolly took “Pidol” cough syrup.

Then Andy, Tony and Rolly left the shed when they saw Erica on her way home along a road which was very dark and silent and surrounded by tall trees and grasses. They asked Sergio to leave already. But instead of leaving, Sergio hid behind the bushes and trees, and thus saw the ensuing incident.

He saw his three barkadas caught up with Erica, as Rolly pushed her while Andy got her shoulder bag. Then Tony and Rolly pushed her against a tree and stabbed her several times in the neck. At this point Andy also joined the two and stabbed Erica until she fell down. As Erica was lying on the ground, Rolly pushed the bottle of cough syrup into her private parts aided by Tony. Then Andy hugged Erica who was still alive and resisting the assault. Together, they undressed Erica and successively raped her, starting with Andy, then Rolly and then Tony. As they take their respective turns in raping Erica, the two others were holding her hands.

After raping Erica, Andy took her bag, Rolly got her camera and cash money while Tony got her ring, earrings and watch. Thereafter, Rolly and Tony went to the rice field while Andy proceeded to the opposite direction.

When the already stiffed body of Erica lying on her back was found by the rice field owner the next day, and upon investigation by police investigators, the Provincial Prosecutor filed two Informations for rape with homicide and theft against Andy, Tony and Rolly.

Andy was arrested and arraigned first and pleaded not guilty. His brother Tony went into hiding upon learning of Andy’s arrest and was apprehended only one year later in the course of the trial. He also pleaded not guilty. But Rolly remained at large.

On five different dates of trial over a year, Sergio the deaf-mute eyewitness narrated what he saw through sign language interpreted by an expert who had 22 years of teaching experience in a school for the deaf, exposure in TV programs and had testified in five other previous court proceedings. So after trial, the RTC found the brothers Andy and Tony guilty as charged despite their denial and alibi that they were at home when the crime happened.

In their appeal to the Supreme Court, Andy and Tony contended that the RTC should not have given full faith and credit to the eyewitness account of Sergio who had no formal schooling in a special school for deaf mutes so that conjectures, surmises and inconsistencies in his testimony could not be discounted. They also attacked his character, claiming that he is a drunkard and a drug addict with appending case of rape.

But the SC still affirmed the RTC decision. The SC said that deaf mutes are NOT incompetent witnesses as long as they: (1) can understand and appreciate the sanctity of an oath: (2) can comprehend facts they are going to testify on; and (3) can communicate their ideas through a qualified interpreter. In this case, the interpreter is definitely qualified with a special training and education for interpreting sign language. The imperfections or inconsistencies in Sergio’s testimony do not detract from the credibility of his testimony much less justify its total rejection. What is material is that he personally knew the accused, was with them when the incident happened and had personally witnessed the rape-slay and theft three meters away from the scene. He did not waiver in the identification of the three accused despite the rigorous cross examination and positively pointed to them as the persons who raped and killed Erica and took her personal effects.

The character of Sergio and the pending case against him does not disqualify him from becoming a witness. For the test to measure the value of a witness’ testimony is whether or not such is in conformity to knowledge and consistent with experience of mankind.

The defense of alibi must yield to the positive identification of Andy and Tony by Sergio. Moreover the place where the crimes happened was just ten to fifteen minutes away from the residence of Andy. In the case of Tony his flight should be taken as an admission of guilt. There was also conspiracy among the three accused.

So they are really guilty as charged and sentenced to two death penalties upon each of them for the rape with homicide and imprisonment of 6 months to 2 years, 11 months and 10 days for theft (People vs. Tuangco et.al. G.R. 130331, November 22, 2000)

As per the narration, Sergio, the deaf witness did not attend formal schooling so he is what we call low-verbal deaf. He is also a hearing-friendly person judging from the buddies he accompanies with. But he is also very strong-willed, and unafraid to tell the truth even though the criminals were his barkadas and even if they counter-charged him.

The Supreme Court of the Philippines affirmed that a deaf person can become a competent witness so long as he/she believes in the sacredness of oath, understands the facts and, most importantly, CAN COMMUNICATE HIS THOUGHTS THROUGH A COMPETENT SIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETER.

So, to answer the title question, YES, the deaf can be a reliable witness. Oh, I just wish I knew who the sign language interpreter is so that I will hug him/her so tight and shake his/her hand congratulating his/her awesome skill and dedication. I hope he/she reads this article and contact me. 🙂

You can read the original article on the Philstar Online Edition page.

  • – Highlights and all caps mine

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑