My TV Interpreting and Former President Aquino

Former Philippine President Benigno Aquino III died on June 24. His ashes were laid to rest at the Manila Memorial Park today (June 26). I already posted my condolences to the 15th president of my country on Facebook and also changed my temporary profile photo in honoring him.

My Facebook Condolences….

However, I won’t be focusing in detail on the events leading to his untimely demise nor the other activities that followed. What I want to share with you is how, “incidentally”, because of him, we had our first inset sign language interpretation of a President’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) on national TV in 2010.

I placed the word “incidentally” between quotes because the ex-president never had a hand on this. These are the collaborative efforts of the deaf community, deaf advocates, deaf institutions, and like-minded individuals in partnership with national TV stations. Worth mentioning is the tireless efforts made by the Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD), Dela Salle – College of St. Benilde which is one of the pioneer institutions in advocating for this, and most of my colleagues in the interpreting world. It just so happens that he was the president at that time. Although the bill on Filipino Sign Language started to make headway during his presidency, the actual law was in full gear and eventually signed into law on 2018 during his successor’s time, President Rodrigo Duterte.

As I was remembering the former president, I googled photos of me interpreting for him. I was very much blessed that I was chosen by the organizers from Dela Salle-College of St. Benilde (DLS-CSB) to be one of the first sign language interpreters assigned for SONA together with DLS-CSB Dean Nicky Templo-Perez. The National Council on Disability Affairs even documented the first sign language interpreted SONA ever, on their official website. The site says,

NCDA lauds GMA7 for its history making streaming news on President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) with sign language interpretation, last June 26, 2010. The Council cheered with thousands of deaf viewers this country’s  first-ever SONA, heard live  by thousands of deaf citizens through a sign language interpreter, thanks to GMA7’s  kapuso  network. Mr. Jojo Esposa interpreting through sign language the State of the Nation’s Address of President Noynoy Aquino.

Excited MCCID Training Director and PWAG President Remberto Esposa Jr. tipped off the Council day before the President’s SONA, that GMA7 News tapped him to interpret the event, most awaited by every Filipino here and in many parts of the world. For the first time, deaf Pinoys, felt one with fellow Filipinos with and without disabilities everywhere in the world, the same great pride over the new President’s humble but noble pronouncements. Loud and clear through the interpreter, they too applauded his marching orders to ban undue use of “wang wang” (sirens) and his call to fight corruption in his inaugural speech. Most of all, his “Kayo ang Boss ko” (You, the Filipino people, are my Boss), got the biggest public cheer of all.

P-noy's SONA with sign language inset.

P-noy’s SONA with sign language inset.

Original article appears here: Pnoy’s SONA Reaches Thousands of Deaf Pinoys Nationwide – NCDA

As I was googling for the actual interpreting on TV, I never found one. Only photos. However, I was very much surprised that I was interviewed by GMA Network, one of the largest media organizations in the country and saved it on YouTube. The interviewer candidly asked me if I was scared to interpret and what I would expect from this activity. I honestly said I was trembling because I don’t know what he would say. Also, the reporter asked what interpreting language I would be using, which I answered in Filipino Sign Language. She followed it up with a query if it is the same as the Filipino language. I explained to her that it’s not the same. FSL is a separate distinct language used by native Filipino deaf users. I added that we are just there to bridge the communication gap between the hearing world and the deaf.

Here is the YouTube link of the said interview:

Behind the Scenes: Sign language interpretation of the SONA

This activity was a trailblazer of sorts because, on the succeeding years, all TV stations broadcast the president’s SONA with inset sign language interpreting. With this, I can probably conclude that this is one of the former Head of State’s impacting legacy. Condolence again to the family of the late President.

How to Install Filipino Sign Language Font in your PC Explainer Video

Many were asking as to how to install, what are the requirements and how to use this font. So here is our answer! The Filipino Sign Language Font Version 2 has been downloaded more than 20,000 times worldwide since 2018. Want to be one of them?

Here are the links to download the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Font File:

1. MCCID Official Website – https://www.mccid.edu.ph

2. Facebook Page – https://www.fb.com/filipinosignlanguagefont

3. Free Font Site – https://www.dafont.com Don’t forget to subscribe, like, and share!

Background music is taken from YouTube Audio Library

#filipinosignlanguage #filipinosignlanguagefont #mccid

Philippines Celebrate International Day of Sign Languages

fsl rally 2019

Please come and invite everyone! Please use the timeline cover and share it!

Filipino Sign Language advocates; FSL students;

Supporters of Philippine languages / indigenous languages

Human rights advocates, human rights defenders

Media contacts

International Day of Sign Languages (IDSL) – Open Ceremony

FSL Rally March

September 23, 2019 (Monday)

7:00 AM onwards

March from CHR to House of Representatives along Commonwealth Ave. Quezon City

Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) in cooperation with the

Philippine Federation of the Deaf Youth Section (PFDYS),

FSL Advocates, IDSL Committees and Filipino Deaf Vloggers (FDV).

Please wear any blue.

Bring your org tarp / logo.

Invite at least 3-5+ other friends.

Bring whistles, horns, noisemakers, drums; megaphone, speakers, sound system, loudspeaker etc. if you have

Make placards on these issues / messages:

– Congress/ Senate: give 2M Budget for KWF!

– Congress/ Senate: FSL in Accessibility bills NOW!

– Congress / Senate: Give Budget for implementation of RA 11106 / FSL Act!

– Ombudsman: Decide on Mocha Uson complaint NOW!

– Support the inclusion of Filipino Sign Language in RA 10533!

– FSL is our mother tongue!

– DepED: Use FSL as Mother Language NOW!

– FSL – National Sign Language of the Philippines!

– FSL in courts!

– FSL in hospitals!

– FSL insets for TV!

– FSL not ASL!

– Learn FSL!

– Deaf teachers in public schools NOW!

– Accessibility NOW!

– Deaf should teach FSL!

– Inclusion YES! Exclusion NO!

– STD NOW! Stop The Discrimination NOW!

etc.

If have any concerns, please kindly contact our PFD Secretary Henry Bibo Perey at philfedeaf1997@gmail.com Thank you so much.

More power to you,

PFD

#SupportFilipinoSignLanguage
#NativeFSL
#YesInclusionofFSLinRA10533
#FSLActRA11106
#FSLDeafEducation

32 Bible Stories in Filipino Sign Language Launched

Filipino Sign Language has finally landed in the Bible!

The Philippine Deaf Sign Language Association (PDSLA) in partnership with the Philippine Bible Society (PBS) launched an initial thirty-two of the well-loved Bible stories in Filipino Sign Language Video format during its dedication/launch held on February 23 at the PBS Ministry Center. They also distributed DVD copies of the stories for free to the guests and visitors.

fslbt dvd
Ptr. Julius Andrada distributes the DVD for free.

Of the 32 titles, twelve are taken from the Old Testament stories while the remaining twenty are from the life and times of the Lord Jesus Christ starting from His birth up to the fellowship of His disciples. PDSLA and PBS formed the Filipino Sign Language Bible Translation Project in 2013 which aims to make God’s Word available to Filipino Deaf in a language that they fully understand.

In their brochure, PDSLA stated that the Deaf are one of the largest unreached people groups in the world.

“Deaf people have been without the life-changing words of Scripture in a language that imparts their hearts. We are joining a global movement among Deaf people who are translating the Word of God into their own sign language and seeing spiritual growth among those who previously struggled to know God.”

fslbt launch 1
Praise and Worship in FSL

Why stories instead of Bible passages?

According to the group, Deaf people tend to understand best when communicated to with stories. Chronological Bible Translation (CBT) is being used by many Deaf translation teams in Asia and around the world. The format is used in order to help the Deaf understand three (3) Biblical foundations:

  1. Know God. How?
  2. Follow God. How?
  3. Serve God. How?

Using a video camera, lighting rigs and a green screen, sign language videos are produced including graphics and images to support the signs. The Old Testament Bible story selection starts with “God Created the World” up to “God’s Chosen Servant”. The New Testament Bible story begins with “Birth of Jesus” and ends with “Believer’s Fellowship”. The 32 stories are just their initial offering. Additional Bible stories will be produced in the years to come.

A Blessed Project Close to My Heart

Prior to this activity, I have been exposed to many Bible stories and Christian songs converted into sign language. I remember way back in the late nineties, there were tapes in VHS format as well as VCDs freely distributed by American missionaries and churches/organizations with established deaf ministries like Door International, Deaf Bible Society, and Deaf Missions which produce the Daily Devotions for the Deaf, an “Our Daily Bread” book written in Deaf way. But all of them are signed using the American Sign Language (ASL).

As a sign language interpreter of Capitol City Baptist Church (CCBC) for nearly three decades now and a native FSL user, I greatly long for a way by which the Bible stories can be explained so that the Filipino deaf can fully grasp and comprehend. However, I was very much constrained at how to go about this because there are many underlying constraints to consider like sign names of Biblical characters, better visual and gestural approach in expounding the story and faithful translation of doctrines and teachings.

PDSLA Logo

Thankfully in 2013, faith-based leaders from the Filipino Deaf community met and discussed a better approach in spreading God’s Good news, one that would speak through their own language, the Filipino Sign Language. Aside from that, the group raised up goals that would touch all aspects of language environment such as linguistics and research, community and language development, deaf culture and church development training. PDSLA was born.

Since then, they invited same-faith individuals, church groups, institutions and other organizations to partner with them. Because of my close affinity with the group, I was very glad that they invited me representing our School Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf to join as a partner institution with which we are very much honored. Officers/leaders of the association, all of whom are my personal friends and brothers and sisters in Christ, include the Ptr. Julius Andrada of CCBC Deaf Ministry together with his lovely wife May, Deaf Pastor Brothers Mamerto and Nehemiah Cortez, Ptr. Albert Mercado and Ptr. Peter Ding Basa.

fslpbt ptr julius
Ptr. Julius Andrada, PDSLA Vice President

With the recent passing of Filipino Sign Language Act of 2018, projects like this would surely be a welcome addition to the growing number of FSL resource materials and teaching aids as well as advocates in recognizing and promoting this unique language that is very beneficial for the Filipino Deaf Community.

may isauro me.jpg
Me (right) together with my lovely sister in Christ May Andrada (left) and the very famous Ptr. Isauro Soriano of Nueva Ecija, brother of late actor Nestor De Villa

To know where to get free DVD copies of the Bible Translations in FSL or learn more about the group and would like to partner with them, you may contact them thru:

Web: http://www.pdsla.org.ph

Email: contact_us@pdsla.org.ph, pdslassociation@gmail.com

Address: 12 Big Horsehoe Drive, Horsehoe Village, Quezon City, 1112PH

Facebook: www.fb.com/pg/PDSLAssociation

Facebook of FSL Bible Translation: https://www.facebook.com/FSLBT

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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