On vilification and unintentional act

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:

Mocha Uson

  1. 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).
  2. Drew Olivar –  He is another Filipino social media blogger noted for his bold and impDrew Olivarrudent 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 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 into 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 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”.

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 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.

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Government agencies involved in implementing the FSL Act

Several days ago, September 11 to be exact, Philippine Senator Salvador “Chiz” Escudero proudly twitted about a very good news regarding the passage of Filipino Sign Language Act (FSL). He announced that,

The Senate version of the Filipino Sign Language bill was adopted by the House of Representatives last night sans a bicam. I thank our House counterparts and all those who worked hard for the passage of this bill. I hope PRRD will sign it and be enacted into law soon.

To clarify the twit, in the Philippine legislative system, both the House of Representatives (Lower House) and the Senate (Upper House) will create two separate bills on the same topic or issue. Then both houses will study their own versions of the bill in first, second and final reading. Once they reached that stage, then they must present the two bills in the Bi-cameral Conference Committee (bicam) which is composed of selected members of both houses. They would then consolidate or unify the two bills in order to come up with one version. Afterwards, the “final” version will be presented to the current president, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD) for signature in order for it to become a law of the land.

Now that the Lower House adopted the Senate version, then there is no more further delay in the process. After more than a decade of painstaking research among the deaf community, debate and even strong opposition from the schools teaching the deaf, the government through the Department of Education and even the general public who are basically ignorant about the situation of the deaf, the bill has finally reached this crucial stage.

As the final version is already on the President’s table, I want to make a simple analysis on the roles and responsibilities of each individual government agency that was mentioned in the “law”. Here is the list of specific national government agency and the summary of task that it must do in order to implement the “law”.

  1. Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (ChEd) and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) – They are required to coordinate with each other on the use of FSL as the medium of instruction in deaf education. FSL must be taught as a separate subject in school curriculum for deaf learners.
  2. Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) – This agency is assigned to use alternative assessment procedure in the licensing of Deaf Teachers.
  3. University of the Philippines (UP), Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWK) – They are responsible in developing guidelines for the development of training materials in education of the deaf for use of state colleges and universities as well as teachers and staff.
  4. Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWK) – With the involvement of the deaf communities, they are tasked to establish a national system of standards, accreditation and procedures for FSL interpreting
  5. Supreme Court, Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) – Their duty is to create a national system of standards, accreditation and procedure for legal interpreting in FSL. They must also make sure of an availability of sign language interpreter in all proceedings involving the deaf.
  6. All government agencies with deaf workers – They are encouraged to use FSL including the conduct of training seminars for their co-employees.
  7. Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and National Council for Children’s Television (NCCT) – They are tasked to require TV stations to have FSL interpreter insets in news and public affairs programs. They must also participate in the promotion of FSL in all other broadcasts.
  8. Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Council for the Welfare of Children (CWC) and Philippine Commission on Women (PWC) – They are involved in making an annual assessment on the implementation of the law.

Even though their task may be mentioned in motherhood statements within the sections of the act, conspicuously missing are the following vital government agencies:

  1. Department of Health (DOH) – Although the entire Section 8 of the act is devoted about the health system, only the state hospitals and other government health facilities are given the responsibility to ensure the access of FSL interpreters for deaf patients. Probably the framers of this “law” do not see a need to involve the topmost department since all government hospitals and even barangay health centers are under DOH.
  2. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) – Ever since the plight of Persons with Disabilities have always been a social welfare concern, the DSWD has played a lead role in implementing programs and services for them. However, their agency is not taking any active part in this act. It was only mentioned because their agency employs deaf people.
  3. National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) – Deaf people are considered as Persons with Disabilities. NCDA is the one and only national government agency tasked to formulate policies and coordinate all activities concerning disability issues and delivery of services to the sector.  Although the House of Representatives version mentioned them as one of the agency tasked to formulate guidelines in the development of training materials for government employees of specific agencies, they are removed in the Senate and final version.  It is ironic that a national government agency serving the sector does not play a significant role in a law concerning the sector.

Although this is about language and its use, it is hoped that the three agencies mentioned above would still continue to participate in making the “law” implemented by everyone. DepEd was specified five times in nearly all sections while KWK or the Commission on Filipino Language in tandem with UP appeared four times.

The FSL Act which has eighteen (18) sections is titled “AN ACT DECLARING THE FILIPINO SIGN LANGUAGE AS THE NATIONAL SIGN LANGUAGE OF HIE FILIPINO DEAF AND THE OFFICIAL SIGN LANGUAGE OF GOVERNMENT IN ALL TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING THE DEAF, AND MANDATING ITS USE IN SCHOOLS, BROADCAST MEDIA, AND WORKPLACES”.

Signing it into a law is a very big leap towards recognizing the language commonly used by the Filipino deaf which has been suppressed by so-called “deaf educators”. However, much still needs to be done in order to fully implement the law.

To the Deaf Sector, “Congratulations and here’s to better times ahead! Cheers!!!”

 

 

Senate approves on final reading the Filipino Sign Language bill

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)

Source:

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.

Philippine House of Representatives approves “Filipino Sign Language Act”

The House of Representatives unanimously approved on third and final reading last Tuesday House Bill 7503, seeking to declare Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of the government in all transactions involving them.

During the session, all 211 House Members present thumbed up the proposed “Filipino Sign Language Act” which is principally authored by Rep. Antonio Tinio (Party-list, ACT Teachers)

The bill also seeks to mandate the use of FSL in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces when involving the deaf.

It declares that the State, in accord with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, shall continue to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Likewise, the State shall take all appropriate measures to ensure the Filipino deaf can exercise the right to expression and opinion. Accordingly, the State recognizes and promotes the use of sign languages embodying the specific cultural and linguistic identity of the Filipino deaf.

The FSL shall be recognized, promoted, and supported as the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf, and as the language of instruction of deaf education, without prejudice to the use of other forms of communication depending on individual choice or preference.

In this regard, the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher and Technical Education (CHED), the Technical Educational Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and all other national and local government agencies involved in the education of the deaf shall henceforth use FSL as the medium of instruction in deaf education.

The FSL shall be taught as a separate subject in the curriculum of deaf learners. The reading and writing of Filipino, as the national language, other Philippine languages, and English shall also be taught to deaf learners.

The University of the Philippines and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics and linguistic researchers in collaboration with the CHED, DepEd and the Early Childhood Care and Development Council (ECDC), shall come up with guidelines in the development of training materials for the education of the deaf. These materials shall be used by all state universities and colleges as well as their teachers and staff.

In the justice system, the FSL shall be the official language of legal interpreting for the deaf in all public hearings, proceedings, and transactions of the courts, quasi-judicial agencies, and other tribunals.

To ensure effective and equal access of the deaf to justice and facilitate their effective role as direct and indirect participants in the legal system, the courts, quasi-judicial agencies, and other tribunals shall ensure the availability of a qualified sign language interpreter in all proceedings involving the deaf, without prejudice to the right of the deaf to choose other forms or modes of communication, if they so prefer.

Hearings, proceedings and transactions shall include those that are held in police stations and before the Lupong Tagapamayapa as well as preliminary investigations and other initial stages in the court, other quasi-judicial bodies and tribunals.

The FSL also shall be the official language of the deaf employed in the civil service and all government workplaces. All government offices shall take reasonable measures, including the conduct of awareness and training seminars on the rationale and use of FSL, to encourage its use among deaf and hearing-impaired government employees.

In the health system, state hospitals and all health facilities shall ensure access of the Filipino deaf to health services, including the free provision of FSL interpreters and accessible materials upon the request of deaf patients or individuals who have deaf family members.

The FSL also shall be used as the medium of official communication in all other public transactions, services and facilities.

Likewise, the FSL shall be the language of broadcast media interpreting. The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) shall, within one year from the effectivity of the Act, require FSL interpreter insets, compliant with accessibility standards for television, in news and public affairs programs.

The bill mandates the KWF to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the Act in coordination with the Education Secretary, CHED Chairperson, TESDA Director-General, Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) Chairperson, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the Justice Secretary, and the heads of other relevant agencies, and in consultation with representatives of the deaf community, teachers with knowledge and experience with the use of FSL in deaf education, the academe, interpreters, and other persons concerned.

Source:

Author: Rowena B. Bundang – Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Date Published: 02-August-2018, 06:03:04 PM
Link: House of Representatives Official Website

You may download the FSL House Bill 7503 in PDF Format here.

Philippine Census Leaves PWD Count

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?

Sticker posted by NSO at MCCID premises after getting the result of the questionnaire they provided.

You may view the original article on this link.

Census leaves out PWDs, angers disability council

Philippine Star

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