Ilang araw pa lang ang nakakalipas, nakita ko itong isang Facebook post na nangangampanya tungkol sa “encouraging people to print and display a new symbol that represents both visible and invisible disabilities“. Na-curious ako kung ano ito kasi naisip ko na ang sektor na aking ginagalawan ay bahagi ng tinatawag na “hidden disability”.
Nang i-click ko ang kanilang official FB post, kinuha ko itong patungkol sa kanila:
#thinkoutsidethechair is a collaborative movement and campaign designed to challenge and change the current thinking around disabilities. This initiative seeks to inform, engage and educate to see all Australians live harmoniously in communities that celebrate inclusion and diversity in an effort to see beyond the chair because Not All Disabilities Are Visible.
Kampanya pala nila ito sa Australia upang ipaunawa sa mga tao na hindi lahat ng may kapansanan ay nakikita. Kasi kapag sinabi mo sa ibang tao na “may kapansanan”, ang unang unang sumasagi sa isip nila ay ang wheelchair. Sa totoo lang, pati nga ang kinikilalang simbolo ng kapansanan sa buong mundo ay ang taong naka-upo sa wheelchair. Yan na kasi ang nakagawian ng mga tao. Makikita mo yan sa parking areas, upuan sa bus at tren at maging pag pumipila ka pag may transactions ka sa gobyerno o kahit sa mga bangko.
Pati nga sa WordPress, pag-i-search mo ang salitang “disability” mga ganitong images ang lalabas:
Pero ang di alam ng ibang mga tao ay higit na marami pa ang mga uri ng kapansanan na hindi nakikita. Tuloy hindi nila alam kung paano nila pakikitunguhan ang mga may kapansanan ng maayos at hindi sila nakakasakit ng kapwa.
Kapag -igoogle mo ang salitang disability, lalabas ang ganitong resulta:
Different types of disabilities
deaf or hard of hearing
mental health conditions
acquired brain injury
autism spectrum disorder
Pag titignan mong maigi ang listahan na ito, isa lamang ang kapansin-pansin ang “kapansanan”. Yan ay ang PHYSICAL DISABILITY. Halos lahat ng kapansanan ay HINDI NAKIKITA. Isa na rito ay ang “deaf or hard of hearing” group. Maaaring ang “vision impairment” ay madali ring mapansin dahil kadalasan nakasuot sila ng dark eyeglasses o kaya ay gamit nila ang kanilang white cane habang naglalakad. Tatlo sa mga nakalista ay patungkol naman sa may kapansanan sa pag-iisip na isa ring hindi nakikita.
Ang maling akala ng iba ay ang naka-wheelchair lang ang kailangang pag-tuoonan ng higit na pansin. Kaya nilalayon ng campaign na ito na bigyang kaalaman ang lahat ng mga tao na gawing pantay-pantay ang pagkilala at pagbibigay ng tulong sa taong nakakaranas ng iba’t ibang uri ng kapansanan.
Sa grupo ng mga bingi at mahina ang pandinig, sila din ay dumaranas ng higit na diskriminasyon dahil hirap sila maka-access sa impormasyon na nakukuha sa iba’t ibang paraan. At ang pinakamasakit sa lahat, ni hindi man lang nila nakakausap ang kanilang mga mahal sa buhay dahil karamihan sa kanila ay isa lamang sa bawa’t pamilya. Ang kanilang mga magulang at kapatid ay malayang nakikipag-kwentuhan sa isa’t isa at nagbabahagi ng kanilang mga pang-araw araw na activities samantalang ang mga deaf ay naisasantabi na lamang.
Pero pag titignan mo sila, parang mga regular na mga tao lang sila. Naalala ko yung isang nanay na inenroll nya ang kanyang isang anak na deaf, tinanong ko siya kung ilan silang magkakapatid. Sagot nya,
Yung panganay ko po at bunso ay normal. Sya lang ang hindi.
Ay, bigla ko syang kinorek ng malumanay. Sabi ko,
Nanay, normal din naman po yung isa nyong anak. Hindi lang po sya nakakarinig. Kasi ang kabaligtaran ng normal ay abnormal. Hindi naman abnormal ang deaf diba?
Sagot ng nanay,
Ay oo nga po. Pero mahal na mahal po namin sya. Igagapang po namin ang pag-aaral nya.
Sadyang mahirap talaga ma-identify ang mga kapansanan na hindi nakikita sa pisikal na kaanyuan. Sana iwasan na lang natin na sila ay kutyain o kaya ay pagtawanan. Maging sensitibo naman sana tayo sa kanilang mga damdamin at pangangailangan. Ituro na din natin sa ating mga anak na igalang ang lahat ng mga tao lalu na ang ibang naiiba sa kanilang anyo at kilos.
Kung nais nyong makibahagi sa kanilang kampanya, maari kayong pumunta sa kanilang website: https://thinkoutsidethechair.com.au/ Huwag nyo lang po kalimutang isama ang kanilang official tag:
Baka type nyo din i-share ang post na ito. Click nyo din po itong campaign poster na Filipino Version ng Campaign Badge, tapos i-save nyo sa inyong computer o i-post nyo sa po yung FB icon sa ibaba nitong post. May English Version po nito kung nais nyo. Ito po yung nasa ibaba. Salamat po!!!
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 a 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:
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 media to share their thoughts. Prominent people from the deaf community headed by 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 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 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.
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 of 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”.
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 subtitle 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.
in the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king
Is the proverb also applicable to the deaf and the hard-of-hearing people?
Hard of Hearing (HoH) refers to someone who doesn’t hear well. This may be because they were born with a hearing loss or they may have lost some or all of their hearing later in life. Many hard of hearing people don’t know that they have a hearing loss.
A few weeks ago during our yearly National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week (NDPR) celebration, our deaf students were invited to attend the “Persons With Disabilities Networking with Employers Talkshop” hosted by the Persons With Disabilities Affairs Office of Quezon City. Resource speakers from various sectors of disabilities gave their “from rags to riches” stories and how they overcame their barriers to attain their success. As always, a great majority of those who attended were deaf people.
I should say, it was truly a very inspiring activity. However, when it came to the “hearing impaired” sector, the organizers chose a “speaker”. I consciously quoted the word speaker because he really can speak! His story started when in childhood, he emphasized that he can hear. His sense of sound eventually diminished as he grows older due to a disease. He is what the deaf studies call, “post-lingual deaf”. He then mentioned about how he was bullied and discriminated during his elementary up until his college days. But then, he succeeded and completed his education.
Again, he experienced discrimination while applying for a job. Luckily, his passion for photography earned him a work in an online news site. Eventually he became a regular government employee. His is truly an “against all odds” testimony. Oh by the way, he only communicates through lipreading and writing. He confessed that he knows little sign language and he chose not to learn it.
Some deaf from the audience cannot hide their feeling of a tinge of envy from this successful guy. They signed, “good for him” because he can talk! “Good for him” because he has work! “Good for him” because he passed the Career Civil Service Examination (CSC) that is why he is now a regular government employee! Upon comparing their current situation, the deaf attendees started questioning themselves. “What would become of us?”
Let me state it clearly here. I AM NOT PREJUDICIAL AGAINST THE HARD-OF-HEARING PEOPLE. God blessed them with this residual ability to hear. They are what we call in graphics animation, the in-betweeners in the deaf world. They are neither here nor there. And since they can hear a little, then they are at an advantage compared to those who are profoundly deaf because probably once in their lifetime, they were able to appreciate sounds and speech clearly.
When one of the deaf participant asked a direct question to him, “you can hear that is why you found a nice job, now what about us who cannot hear?” Still another one asked him, “you passed the CSC Exam because you know Tagalog, now how about us who have a language barrier since we don’t know the language?”
For these questions, he simply replied, “you must be more patient and strive harder.” Now this is such a tall order, an advice that is too difficult to fulfill. But then again, saying this would make us sound so pitiful and hopeless.
So I am more inclined to side with him and agrees with his reply. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “if someone wants you to go one mile, go with him two miles”. We must double our effort in achieving our goals. As another saying goes, “slow and steady wins the race.”
* – I deliberately did not mention the guy’s name because I don’t want to put him in a bad light. He is a good friend and I truly admire his tenacity and advocacy for his group. I may put his name here if he allows me to do so.
I count myself as one of those who affirmed with the sentiments of the disability council. MCCID was one of the fortunate places where the National Statistics Office handed over a census questionnaire. I personally read the form and was very disappointed that there was no question there about the number of PWDs residing in the school campus/dormitories.
The situation is truly lamentable because the Philippine government merely guesses the number of PWDs. That is why the services provided for their welfare are very inadequate. Census is very important because this is the basis on how the government will spend the people’s money. When are we going to learn?
MANILA, Philippines – Described as a “complete enumeration” of the entire Philippine population, the 2015 Census has ignored crucial data on a significant sector: persons with disabilities (PWD).
The exclusion of questions on disability in the August census does not only leave out a group already lamenting its invisibility in society, but it could also have consequences for the country’s overall development agenda.
“It’s an outright denial of the rights of persons with disabilities to be counted,” said a fuming Carmen Zubiaga, National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) acting executive director.
On Thursday, leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) who met in Manila included PWDs in their declaration, saying they “recognize the significance of enabling the full participation of all sectors and segments of our society.”
PWDs are mentioned thrice in the 2015 declaration, which capped the recently concluded APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM).
“I am personally so disappointed with the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) for not consulting (PWDs) or even NCDA for the 2015 census,” Zubiaga said in an email to VERA Files.
Sought for comment, PSA only said, “(The) main objective of the 2015 Census of Population (POPCEN 2015) is to update the population count. Question on disability will be included in the 2020 Census of Population and Housing (2020 CPH).”
Yet, this runs counter to what the PSA itself says on its website as the main goal of the exercise: not to simply count the population but to provide useful data.
“The POPCEN 2015 aims to provide government executives, policy and decision makers, and planners with population data, especially updated population counts of all barangays in the country, on which to base their social and economic development plans, policies, and programs,” the PSA census primer reads.
Specifically, the primer lists the usefulness of data for the government in formulating “policies concerning various segments of the population (children, youth, elderly, women of reproductive age, voting age, and working age)” as well as “policies and programs relative to the delivery of basic services, such as on health, education, employment, housing, infrastructure, disaster relief, and other socio-economic concerns.”
PSA did not respond to further follow-up questions, but did provide copies of the basic questionnaire it used in the 2015 census.
The form gathers information on names of household members, relationship to the household head, sex, date of birth, age, birth registration, marital status, religious affiliation, school attendance, literacy, highest grade/year completed, technical/ vocational course obtained, if overseas worker or not, and usual activity/ occupation.
Housing questions include type of building, construction materials of the roof of the building and outer walls of the building/ housing unit, fuel for lighting, source of water supply for drinking and cooking, and tenure status of the housing unit/ lot.
Also included are questions on registration of deaths in the last two years among household members.
The non-inclusion of disability questions in the census would make the country remiss in its obligation as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDs (UNCRPD).
Article 31 of the CRPD directs state parties to “collect appropriate information, including statistical and research data” on disability.
As a UN member state, the Philippines is also bound by the sustainable development goals (SDGs), launched this year to replace the expired millennium development goals (MDGs).
Seven SDG targets on education and employment explicitly refer to PWDs.
“The seven targets mentioning disability must be monitored with specific disability indicators or by disaggregating indicators by disability,” noted the UNCRPD Secretariat.
Lack of data at the national level “contributes to the invisibility of persons with disabilities in official statistics, presenting an obstacle to achieving development planning and implementation that is inclusive of persons with disabilities,” it said.
The Washington Group on Disability Statistics, formed in 2001 and operating under the UN Statistical Commission, has developed a set of six questions which can be included in national censuses and surveys to collect data on PWDs.
The questions ask if a person has difficulty seeing, even if wearing glasses; difficulty hearing, even if using a hearing aid; difficulty walking or climbing steps; difficulty remembering or concentrating; difficulty with self-care such as washing all over or dressing; and difficulty communicating, for example understanding or being understood, using his or her usual or customary language.
These questions are intended make data internationally comparable.
The Philippines is not among the countries listed by the CRPD Secretariat as having included Washington Group questions in their last census. Southeast Asian neighbors that have done so include Indonesia (2010), Timor-Leste (2010) and Vietnam (2009).
Disability questions, however, have been included in previous censuses in the country. Results of the 2010 census show that of the 92.1 million household population, 1.57 percent or some 1.4 million persons had disability.
Calabarzon had the highest number of PWDs (193,000) followed by the National Capital Region (167,000). The region with the lowest number was the Cordillera Administrative Region (26,000).
There were more males (50.9 percent of the total) than females (49.1 percent) with disabilities. Disability was highest among Filipinos aged 5 to 19 years.
The total number of PWDs based on the 2010 census showed an increase from the 942,098 PWDs counted during the 2000 census. The 1995 census had an even lower number of PWDs at 919,292.
Results of the 2015 census will see a staggered release starting the last quarter of 2016.
Whether PSA did the census right or not, Zubiaga said, “The only thing that matters is the inclusion of disability in all national initiatives.”
“We also want to remind PSA that they have to declare how they spent their budget on disability based on Section 34 of the General Appropriations Act,” she said.
That section of the national budget mandates a 1 percent allotment in the budgets of agencies for projects that address the needs of PWDs and senior citizens.
“(PWDs) are lamenting this act of excluding disability in the 2015 census,” Zubiaga said.
(VERA Files is put out by veteran journalists taking a deeper look into current issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”)