Filipino Deaf Video Blogger explains why FSL not PSL

Last year, Philippine President Duterte signed into law the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Act. The Republic Act 11106 recognizes FSL as the true and living language used by the Filipino Deaf community. However, some people contested the name.

The issue: why use FILIPINO Sign Language, not PHILIPPINE Sign Language?

Glottolog, a comprehensive reference information for the world’s languages, especially the lesser known languages, listed the language used by the Filipino Deaf as Philippine Sign Language.

Screenshot of Glottolog

Also, SIL International, (formerly Summer Institute of Linguistics) lists the language as Philippine Sign Language. They even made an identifier code of ISO 639-3. These recognitions further strengthen the legitimacy of PSL as the right name.

Screenshot of SIL Code for Philippine Sign Language

In 2006, I became one of the editors of Wikipedia, the world’s largest free online encyclopedia. Using Jomanila as my editor name, I was able to create a few notable articles. One of which is “Filipino Sign Language” which I posted in February 15, 2008.

Screenshot of Wikipedia Article History

However in 2012, a certain tyrant and “feeling god” editor/dictator named Kwamikagami vandalized the article name by changing it into PHILIPPINE SIGN LANGUAGE. I humbly asked why the sudden change and explained my side. But he still defended his action simply because he is a “demigod” and he does not care for others’ truth. Because I cannot challenge his abusive “powers”, I just let him be. You may view our heated exchanges here.

Both Glottolog and SIL were used as bases for the Wikipedia article change from FSL to PSL. These supporting sites further strengthen the Wikipedia tyrant’s decision to change the name of the article. So the name got stuck for nearly five years. Minor edits and information were added but the name PSL stayed, until the law was passed. I added the information about the FSL Law in November 2018. Thankfully last December, a Filipino Wikipedia Editor named HaribonEagle927 moved the page to Filipino Sign Language after pointing it out in my talk.

Still, many senior Filipino deaf insist that PSL is the right term because this is what they were accustomed to. Some even invented the name PINOY Sign Language as a better term and created their own Facebook group in 2014 to support this. The group currently has 240 members.

That is why Aldrin Gabriel, a well-respected deaf video blogger and one of the founders/administrators of Filipino Deaf Vloggers: Feed, Awareness and Openness Facebook Group (FDVFAOG) decided to post his explanation about the issue. Aldrin, an alumnus of MCCID, happens to be one of my very best deaf students. He is a very creative artist, a local champion and Philippine representative in the International Skills Competition held in Japan in 2007 and the only Filipino Deaf actor who interpreted the “Mi Ultimo Adios” poem of National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal in Filipino Sign Language.
Ultimo _ smaller file

FDVDAO Group is a closed invite-only Facebook group which now has nearly 4,000 members, majority of whom are deaf and hard-of-hearing. You can only post video blogs in sign language. Personal opinions and views of all the members is highly respected so bashing is not allowed. I was honored to be invited in this group.

You may view his ten-minute video in Filipino Sign Language by clicking on the YouTube link below. Aldrin’s explanation is very simple and straightforward. He even used a paper diagram to illustrate his point clearly. I added the English caption/subtitle for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar with the language. I am sure you will now be convinced that FSL is the correct name after viewing his video.

Cheers to Filipino Sign Language and the Filipino Deaf Community!!!

Note: He corrected the word AMERICA in his paper illustration to AMERICAN. Sorry for the error.

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HIV-AIDS Talk in Filipino Sign Language

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte signed the into law in January 9 Republic Act 11166 or the “Philippine HIV and AIDS Policy Act of 2018”.

Under the law, the government is mandated to establish programs and policies and adopt a multi-sectoral approach to prevent the spread of HIV, and ensure access to HIV and AIDS-related services “by eliminating the climate of stigma and discrimination” on patients.

The Philippine National AIDS Council is reconstituted and streamlined to ensure effective implementation of the country’s response to the spread of HIV and AIDS among the population. It also provides penalties to people who will discriminate against HIV-positive individuals and enables minors 15 years of age to get tested for HIV.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque has lauded the recent signing as well as informed the public about the alarming rate of increase in persons infected with the virus. Latest data from the Department of Health (DOH) showed that 945 newly-diagnosed HIV cases were recorded in November 2018. This is truly a cause for alarm because it also affects the Filipino Deaf. I even heard of one deaf who died of complications due to AIDS.

Nearly a week ago, Outrage Magazine, the only publication dedicated to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) groups in the Philippines uploaded a series of videos in their YouTube Channel explaining the nature as well as how to get an HIV-AIDS Test in Filipino Sign Language. This to me is very timely as well as helpful in raising the AIDS awareness among the Filipino Deaf Community.

Pinoy Deaf Rainbow Logo
Pinoy Deaf Rainbow Logo

There are a significant number of deaf who belong to the LGBT community. They even organized a group called Pinoy Deaf Rainbow and has been participating in many related activities like Pinoy Pride and beauty pageants. I believe most of the actors that appeared in the Outrage YouTube videos are members of this group. They have and active Facebook Group Page aside from the YouTube Channel.

Here are the YouTube Videos from OutRage Magazine. Please click on each video to watch it.

1. Let’s Talk About HIV

2. Getting Tested for HIV

3. What Happens After You Get Tested for HIV

In behalf of this blogger, I warmly salute Outrage Magazine for creating these videos explained in Filipino Sign Language. I am very positive that these advocacy videos will enlighten our entire Filipino Deaf Community, not just the Deaf LGBT group.  🙂

Join us! Bring Filipino Sign Language to the public schools!

*PLEASE SHARE / FORWARD / POST as widely as possible. Thanks!

To: Videographers / Editors / Animators / Storytellers / Writers / Actors / Artists / Producers / Designers / TV / Mass Comm students, networks Fine Arts students, alumni & organizations / Teachers / education students / language or culture students / Web designers / administrators / Lawyers / law students (interested specially in copyright, IPR) or any dynamic, resourceful team players, volunteers who want to be a part of Deaf History! :o)

++
Greetings co-advocates / supporters / friends of the Deaf community!

After five years of having P100M in the Philippine budget authorized by law to be used for “Instructional Materials and Textbooks for the Handicapped“, the DepEd is FINALLY going to start to act and use this fund to develop materials together with civil society organizations!

This is based on two laws which require the use of Filipino Sign Language in the public school system:
Republic Act No. 10410 known as the “Early Years Act”: in Day Care Centers in all barangays
Republic Act No. 10533 known as the “K-12” law.

I, along with the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), the DLS- CSB School of Deaf Education and Deaf Studies, (CSB-SDEAS) the Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf (MCCID) and the CAP College – School for the Deaf (CAP-SFD), the major institutions who have advocated for the use of Filipino Sign Language, have come together to start this challenging task: to bring FSL to the public schools of the Philippines, and FSL materials to the eyes and minds of deaf children all over the country.

In order to be able to use FSL as the “Mother Tongue” (or first language) for deaf children, there need to be Learner Materials (in video):
– in FSL as a subject (from K-3, or Kinder to Gr. 3; plus in the Day Care Centers)
– of all other subjects (Math, Araling Panlipunan, etc.) in FSL.

Some aspects of FSL may be taught in the classroom using print. But as a visual / spatial language, video will be the best medium. Video Learner Materials may be disseminated using TV.

Because of this, we will need volunteers, supporters, technical experts, education graduates, teachers, etc. who can assist the 4 institutions above.

Whether you sign or not, if you are willing and able to contribute to this historical undertaking, we would be happy to have you!

For any questions, pls email this address.
Thank you and we hope to hear from you!
In service of the Filipino Deaf community ~
Liza B. Martinez, PhD
PDRC (2001-2013) / Deaf Resources Philippines

Filipina Deaf Passes the National Teacher’s Exam

Good news to all our Filipino Deaf friends out there. The very elusive board examination for teachers has been conquered by a lady! Her name is Mary Catherine Dela Torre. Most of the deaf after graduating from a bachelors degree in education, will land as teacher aide without any assurance of becoming a regular teacher, unless they pass the licensure exam. Now, it can be done!

I’m not saying that she is the first board exam passer. I know of two persons who successfully made it in the past. But one unique thing about Mary Catherine is that she came from a regular college in Iloilo City (Central Philippine University) without the aid of an interpreter although she comfortably communicates in sign language. Also, she broke the tremendous odds by enrolling in a good review school which had helped her a lot. But the best part of it all is the all out support of her loving mother which was always there helping her through her lessons and examinations.

Mary Catherine, thank you very much for inspiring other deaf that they too can pass the test. This blogger salutes you! 🙂

* – This Abs-Cbn breaking news video is in Filipino language without an English subtitle.

Philippine Revolution with Deaf Actors

MCCID College students led by Thenejon Del Mundo and directed by Sir Moises Libot made a simple 6-minute video (with background sounds) about the heroes of Philippine Revolution. This is part of their Digital Video Editing Subject.  Film shooting was done at the hillside area of the campus. Enjoy! 🙂

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