Sign language in curriculum urged

This is again a repost from Manila Bulletin. It seems that the government, or at least the House of Representatives, took notice about the dilemma of educating the Filipino deaf. 🙂

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December 11, 2011, 4:37pm

MANILA, Philippines — A party-list lawmaker Sunday urged government to include sign language studies in the elementary education curriculum to make communications more accessible to some four million hearing impaired (HI) Filipinos.

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (Bagong Henerasyon Partylist) stressed that proficiency in sign language will also give young Filipinos an edge in actively participating in revolutionary information and com-munications technology (ICT) aimed at bridging the communications gap that has disadvantaged hundreds of millions of HI individuals throughout the world.

Herrera-Dy addressed the appeal to the Department of Education (Deped) shortly after keynoting the recent launching ceremonies for the Signals for Hand and Oral Understanding Training (SHOUT) program in Quezon City.

The lady solon explained that the SHOUT program, a project initiated by the Rotary Club of Quirino-QC, has piloted a sign language training for ordinary elementary school students at the Batino Elementary School in Project 2, Quezon City which also conducts regular special education classes for HI students.

Jointly sponsored by the RCQQC and BH Partylist with the cooperation of the Division of Quezon City Schools, the SHOUT program has initially enrolled 25 Grade IV and V students to learn the sign language and allow them to communicate with HI students of the school.

“With this project, we hope to widen an HI individual’s sphere of communications which current limited to their fellow HI’s and their relatives,” explained Herrera-Dy.

The partylist solon revealed that the SHOUT program will complement the Video Relay Service (Call Center) Training Program that her partylist organization launched in Makati last August.

She pointed out that the VRS has been developed by a leading ICT firm to help persons suffering hearing and speech difficulties communicate normally with other people.

The VRS includes sign language proficiency training and video relay computer program education, which are the main components of call center services for the deaf.

Herrera-Dy noted that VRS centers have started mushrooming in the United States and other countries that have strong government programs for persons with disabilities.

She also cited the RCQQC headed by Gil Basco and Batino principal July Villapa for supporting the project.

There are efforts to integrate the deaf community into the mainstream of Philippine society. The goal is to empower them and urge them to be productive citizens. At the same time, they are taught skills to help them with their daily survival.

More programs are being pursued to reach out to the deaf community. Aa three-day annual sign language convention was held in Manila, Baguio City and Davao City recently.

The Ascension of Our Lord Parish Church, in Lagro, Quezon City is offering Basic Sign Language course, a three-month course which has 12 sessions. Each session, held every Sunday, runs for four hours, with a total of 48 class hours. Part of the course is another 24 hours of exposure that will be required from each of the students which they will earn during church visits.


Update on Davao exec who discriminated deaf teacher

After posting about the school official in Davao suspended for discriminating against deaf teacher, I tried to Google any new information regarding this infamous personality. Well, I dug up a lot more can of worms from this shrewd official. It seems that this person has done more dishonorable things aside from just discriminating a deaf teacher.

Ms. Florita Masing was permanently discharged as a Special Schools Principal of Davao City Integrated Special School. She, together with Jocelyn Tayactac, an office clerk of the same school were administratively charged before the Ombudsman for Mindanao by the parents of the students for allegedly collecting unauthorized fees and to account public funds.

The Ombudsman in Mindanao rendered a decision finding Masing and Tayactac guilty of gross misconduct and neglect of duty, for violating Republic Act 6713, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The two sought recourse with the Court of Appeals, which reversed the Ombudsman’s decision. The case was eventually elevated to the High Court, which held that respondents Masing and Tayactac were administratively charged for violation of RA 6713, for collecting unauthorized fees, failure to remit authorized fees, failure to account public funds, oppression and serious misconduct.

It also said that the authority of the Ombudsman to conduct administrative investigations “is beyond cavil,” and the exceptions are officials who can be removed only by impeachment. Masing was dismissed from the service, while Tayactac was found guilty of simple neglect of duty and was meted a six-month suspension.

For more about her shameful acts, visit the Manila Times Internet Edition and the Philippine Supreme Court Ruling dated January 2008.

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School exec suspended for discriminating against deaf teacher

As I was looking for books about deaf in our school’s mini-library, I found this old newspaper clipping inserted in one of them. Although this news item came about almost eight years ago, printed in April 6, 2000 at Philippine Star, this issue is as timely as today’s happenings. So I decided to post this as part of my blog as a reminder for our continued struggle against discrimination of any kind. 🙂

Davao City – Ombudsman Aniano Desierto has suspended for six months without pay the principal of a special school for the disabled here, ironically, for discriminating against teachers and students of the institution who have physical disabilities.

Desierto warned Florita Masing, Head of the Davao City Integrated Special School, of a stiffer penalty should she again commit the same offenses.

Investigator Joy Arao found evidence that Masing was guilty of oppression, misconduct and discourtesy.

The Ombudsman acted on the complaint of a teacher who claimed Masing refused to promote her because she was deaf and even maligned her by spreading rumors that she begged the Civil Service Commission for a higher rank.

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