Yay! First 240,000 Visits!

FSL Wordie Collage of Words

Wow! Wow! Wow! I reached another milestone in my blog experience. After 18 posts since July 27, today I celebrate my 240,000th visits since I created this in 2008! Hooray!

I now have 349 posts, 883 comments, 23 categories, 729 tags, 40 active followers (up from 29), 46 comment followers and 791 Facebook readers. I had 248 shares, majority of which are from Facebook.

My top referrer is still Google Search followed closely by Deafread.com. My Facebook links now overtook WordPress tags on the third place, fifth from our school’s official website and sixth from deafvideo.tv.

My top search engine term remains the the same. Deaf Icon Marlee Matlin followed by “Dinig Sana Kita“, a Filipino movie about being deaf, Heather Whitestone and Filipino Sign Language. My most popular blog post is still about the most popular Filipino Person With Disability, ex-governor Grace Padaca followed by Spider-man with I-love-you Sign while my most popular video log post (vlog) remains the Philippine National Anthem in Filipino Sign Language.

Thank you very very much to my dear readers for staying patient with me! Now, on to my first 260,000th visitors most likely in 2013! 🙂

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ANC gives the deaf a voice

This is a repost from The Philippine Star. The article even mentioned our school. Great! 🙂

ANC gives the deaf a voice
(The Philippine Star) Updated March 21, 2012 12:00 AM Comments (0)View comments
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From left: Deaf consultant Maria Rowena Rivera, sign language interpreters Catherine Villareal and John Baliza singing letters ANC
| Zoom

MANILA, Philippines – When the sign language interpreters of Chief Justice on Trial: the ANC Coverage first encountered the term “subpoena duces tecum” and other obscure legal terms, they had to text colleagues who were off-duty and scrabble for the nearest dictionary to find out their meaning and devise ways to interpret them.

Nine weeks into the legalese-heavy trial, the interpreters-instructors from De La Salle’s College of Saint Benilde School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (CSB-SDEAS) and Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters (PNASLI) still get on with their preparation practices before they sit on-air at 2 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays — bring a dictionary, consult with lawyers and the deaf community, and on their off days, meet and discuss difficult legal phrases and the best ways to “sign” them.

Two sign language interpreters take turn every 20 minutes on a single trial day in interpreting the argument among the prosecution and defense panels and the senator-judges live. Off-camera, a deaf coordinator, a hearing coordinator — and at times, a legal consultant — synergize to ensure legal technicalities are correctly interpreted.

The initiative of ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, to fortify its uninterrupted coverage of the impeachment trial has spawned wider political participation by making information accessible to the deaf.

ANC has established itself as “the news channel” that delivers non-stop reportage of news events including the groundbreaking blow-by-blow coverage of the former Pres. Joseph “Erap” Estrada’s impeachment trial, a first on Philippine TV.

ANC managing director Ging Reyes expressed that the sign language initiative serves as another milestone for the news channel and recognizes that the deaf have a stake in the growth of the country.

Catherine Joy Villareal, an instructor at CSB-SDEAS and one of the interpreters, said the team has garnered significantly excellent reactions from the deaf community in provinces and even Filipinos abroad.

“We get to perform our roles, however little, in this historical event. Our goal is to serve the deaf community for them to be able to be aware of what’s happening and for them to have a voice. They participate in what’s happening through us and through ANC’s efforts,” she said.

ANC first incorporated sign language insets during the airing of President Benigno Aquino III’s 2010 and 2011 State of the Nation Addresses. Following positive feedback on the efforts, ANC once again tapped the CSB-SDEAS faculty to make sure the Filipino deaf community is not left out on the historic hearing.

The interpreting team also hopes to promote support for legislations that would require sign language insets in all newscasts and TV programs.

“The effort is significant in a sense that we’re making history not just for the deaf as a community but for the Philippines as a country. We’re slowly integrating the deaf into the society and opening opportunities to them,” said Oscar Sherlo Reyes, CSB-SDEAS’ coordinator for employment opportunities and one of the hearing coordinators in ANC’s coverage.

Aside from the CSB-SDEAS faculty and PNASLI, sign language interpreters from partner groups CAP College, Philippine Association of Interpreters for Deaf Empowerment and Manila Christian Computer Institute for the Deaf also volunteer for ANC’s impeachment trial coverage.

 Chief Justice on Trial: the ANC Coverage airs on ANC (SkyCable Ch. 27) or online streamed live on  HYPERLINK “http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/cjontrial” http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/cjontrial, while those mobile can get instant updates by following @ANCALERTS on Twitter.

Impeachment trial in sign language

Guys I’d like to share with you a very informative and insightful article written by Sir Raul Pangalangan in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He explicitly discussed about the importance of utilizing sign language interpreters in getting the truth and protecting the rights of a deaf person. However, he also enumerated the problems it poses like the interpreting cost, interpreter’s competence and the admissibility of interpreted statements in courts.

Impeachment trial in sign language
By:

10:23 pm | Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

No, this is not about mysterious signals coming from the senator-judges or from the parties’ counsels about where the impeachment trial is going. This is literally about sign language, and the “inset” or the small box that you see on the TV screen if you watch via ANC, showing an interpreter who translates the proceedings in sign language for the deaf. This is a triumph for Filipino deaf rights advocates, but they have a long journey ahead.

According to Dr. Liza Martinez, founder and director of the Philippine Deaf Resource Center, sign language insets appeared on Philippine TV for the first time on Channel 5 for the 2010 State of the Nation Address of President Aquino, his very first. That same channel has since sustained these pioneering insets in its early evening, one-hour news program. Another channel, ABS-CBN, has also used sign language insets, but only in their Central Visayas and Davao news broadcasts and not yet for programs that are broadcast nationwide.

There is now a pending bill before Congress, the Sign-language Insets for News Programs Act, that will make these insets mandatory. The existing law, the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act 7277), states the obligation rather softly: TV stations are “encouraged to provide a sign language inset or subtitles in at least one newscast program a day and special programs covering events of national significance.” It classifies “qualified interpreters [for] individuals with hearing impairments” as “auxiliary aids or services.”

The proposed sign-language insets act will convert the Magna Carta’s hortatory clause into a binding obligation. Sponsored by Reps. Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño (Bayan Muna Party-List), it will require sign-language TV news insets, noting that the inset is preferred over subtitles or captions because less than 5 percent of the reported 120,000 deaf Filipinos are literate. Last week, Doctor Martinez testified before a congressional committee that the networks should be given a choice between the inset and captions, hopefully to make it more acceptable to the networks and likewise enable them to adapt to the variable literacy levels of deaf people in the Philippines.

Over the years, I have heard of the travails of deaf Filipinos. There was that case about the deaf rape victim who testified about her ordeal through a sign-language interpreter. Her complaint was thrown out on the ground that it relied on hearsay evidence. Hearsay evidence from the rape victim herself? Yup, you got that right. The hearsay rule says: “A witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his personal knowledge; that is, which are derived from his own perception.” So when the sign language interpreter spoke, the stupid prosecutor asked him: Did you actually witness the rape? These lawyers should be taught that signing is a language in itself, no different from Spanish or Chinese or Filipino. Going by this ridiculous episode, all testimony that has to be translated is intrinsically hearsay!

There was also the deaf man who was invited to Qatar for a training seminar precisely for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs). He was barred at Naia by an immigration officer (now under investigation) who questioned the authenticity of his trip because he was deaf. And finally there is that series of cases where deaf passengers were either barred from boarding or off-loaded even after they had boarded their planes.

The mandatory inset for sign language interpreters is merely the first step. The Supreme Court (assuming the Chief Justice takes kindly to the “signing”) should likewise require courts to provide sign language interpreters for deaf witnesses. Without such an order, deaf witnesses can testify only by hiring and paying for their own interpreters. That poses several problems.

First, there is the problem of cost. This is tantamount to putting a price tag on the truth. It would be naïve to think that that price tag wasn’t there from the outset; the cost of litigation goes way beyond the professional fees of the lawyers, and goes into the invisible costs and risks that the victim pays by deciding to go into battle. But one cost, i.e., sign language translation, must be borne by the state if it is to make good on the constitutional guarantee of equal treatment and the international obligation of non-discrimination against PWDs.

Second, there is the regulation of the sign language interpreters themselves. There is the issue of competence. Without a Supreme Court regulation, any Tom, Dick and Harry can purport to translate the “sign” testimony. There is also the issue of ethics. What if the Tom, Dick or Harry is so good he can improve the testimony or, worse, embellish or distort it? We need a system of accreditation to replace the open but loose market that exists today.

Third, the Supreme Court regulation should clear the way, once and for all, for the admissibility of sign language translations. The hearsay rule applies to the witness himself or herself, not to the interpreter who merely translates what the witness says into a language that the court can understand.

ANC’s sign language inset for impeachment trial is historic twice over, and apart from the Constitution and the laws, is just about the most public recognition that, in a trial on public accountability, the deaf Filipino must be heard.

(Today, Doctor Martinez presents the results of her study on Philippine cases of anti-deaf discrimination. It will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the UP College of Social Work & Community Development.)

Filipino Sign Language of Impeachment Trial Words

I compiled a couple of instructional videos which were used during Chief Justice Corona’s Impeachment trial. Since this legal proceeding is very new to the Filipino sign language interpreters/deaf world, College of St. Benilde uploaded videos to document the signs that are very much used. Here they are:

10 Things Filipinos Abroad Can Do To Help Our Country

I received this forwarded email from my other Yahoogroup which comprises Filipino Persons with Disabilities called This_Able_Phils. The message is very relevant and appropriate so I eagerly posted it in my blog. This one is written by Atty. Alex Lacson suggesting of ways in order for our 8 million great Overseas Filipino Workers (the nurses, doctors, seamen, caregivers, construction workers, engineers, IT operators) to bring back something for their country.

1. Spend your vacation, your dollars and other foreign currencies, in our Philippines.

It is understandable for our OFW’s, balikbayans and Pinoy expats to vacation in other countries. The world is truly beautiful and majestic. But please spend some of your vacation time and some of your dollars in our Philippines. Every dollar that you bring into our country will help build our Philippines. It will help our tourism industry. It will mean more sales and more jobs for our local industries. It will mean an increase in our country’s international dollar reserves. It will help stabilize the peso. And ultimately, it will help stabilize our economy.

2. Encourage and teach your relatives back home to be good citizens & good Filipinos.

Whether or not you are sending money to your relatives in the Philippines, you are one of their heroes. They look up to you as a role model. They listen to every word you say. Please teach them to become good Filipinos, to become good citizens. They can start with my book, 12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country. Please ask them to help me spread the message of the book. In particular, please ask them to “Buy local. Buy Pilipino.” A recent article in TIME Magazine said that the most crucial factor for economic progress is not foreign investments, but economic nationalism – i.e., when people learn to support their own country’s products.

3. All OFW’s, Balikbayans and Pinoy Expats should do more during elections in RP.

In the next and all future elections, OFW’s, Balikbayans and Pinoy expats should do more by helping your relatives back home in choosing the right leaders – the national ones especially – for our country. Your relatives at home will listen to you. This means that as OFWs and expats, you need to surf the Internet and read the news so you’ll know which candidates should be elected to offices. There are organizations and websites which can help you decide.

If it is true that there are at least 8 million OFW’s all over the world now and if it is also true that every Filipino has at least 4 relatives, then the 8 million OFW’s have at least 32 million relatives back home in the Philippines. This means that the OFW’s and their families alone can determine the political leadership in the Philippines, our government, and eventually our nation as a whole.

4. Buy Pilipino, wherever you are in the world.

If you look at the Japanese and the (South) Koreans, wherever they are in the world, they buy and patronize their own products. They are like that too in the Philippines. That’s why there are so many Korean stores sprouting all over the country now. The Chinese, Thais and Malaysians are almost like them too, but in a less passionate manner.

We Filipinos have a preference for imported products – the so-called “colonial mentality” – believing that Spanish and American products, ideas and ways were better and superior and that ours were inferior.

But that’s history. Our Philippines is different now. There are many good Filipino companies with equally good Filipino products or brands. Look at Bayo, Kamiseta, Bench, Penshoppe, Jollibee, among others. In fact, some of the best branded products you see in New York, London and Italy are made in our Philippines.

Please be an ambassador of the Filipino, by wearing Pilipino. Show to your foreign spouses and officemates and to the world, the elegance of our culture and beauty of our people. All these things begin with each one of us.

5. Adopt a poor child as a scholar back home.

According to government sources, around 40% of our people are poor. But according to our bishops from CBCP, the figure is much higher than that, possibly at 53%. Since we have a population of almost 86 million now, imagine how many of that is 53%. Most of the poor are children, a great many of whom are out there in the streets, because their parents cannot afford to send them to school. My proposal is this – let’s adopt scholars among our poor street children.

World Vision is an international foundation which offers scholarship for poor children. It has been operating in the Philippines for years. It looks for 2 groups of persons – the first are those poor children who really want to study hard, and the second are those who have extra funds and are willing to sponsor 1 scholar for only P450 per month.

Yes, for only P450 a month, you can sponsor 1 scholar under World Vision. World Vision can give you the name, age, address and personal profile of your scholar so you can even mentor, visit, talk, or write to your scholar.

If there are 5 million Filipinos and OFW’s today who are all wiling to sponsor 1 child each under World Vision, that would mean 5 million poor children can be adopted as scholars. These scholars will have a better future and will someday become our partners in building our nation.

This could be one of the fastest paths to progress and social transformation in our country. And this is a very Christian way. Even Jesus Christ, who was born very poor in a manger, had to be adopted by Joseph.

6. Support a charitable organization.

There are many good charitable organizations that truly help build our Philippines to become a better place for all of us. Gawad Kalinga, Pondo ng Pinoy, Caritas Manila and World Vision, among others. These groups are beyond the dirt and mirth of politics.

Like most of us, you too are busy. Often, you will have not the time to help others. Charitable organizations are there to allow us to help others while we are busy. Every little help that you send will help one poor Filipino, often one poor child, in our country.

7. Teach your children about the Philippines, and to love it and its people.

Teach your children and your foreign spouses, wherever you are in the world, about our Philippines – the home of the Filipino people, and the birthplace of our race. Let your children and your foreign spouses hear it from you – that you appreciate and love our Philippines. Because if they hear and see it from you, their beloved, they too will appreciate and love our Philippines. Or they will find a way, sooner or later, to appreciate and love it, because of you. I see that all the time, everywhere, in practically all the fathers and mothers in this world. Their sons and daughters often carry and continue their parents’ loves, causes and advocacies.

If you make your children see and hear that you love our Philippines, believe me, someday your children will grow up with love and admiration for the Philippines in their hearts and minds.

8. Speak positively about our Philippines and our people.

Sure, there are things that will disappoint and dishearten you in the Philippines, especially if you look at our government and the politicians who run it and those businessmen whose companies earn so much but who pay very little to their employees.

But there are also many good things in our Philippines. We are a race capable of greatness and excellence, and you see this in the likes of Lea Salonga, Dr Josette Biyo, Diosdado Banatao, Efren Reyes, Ninoy Aquino, Jose Rizal, among many others. We are essentially a breed of honest people, and you see this in the likes of Nestor Sulpico, the Filipino driver in New York who, on 17 July 2004, drove 43 miles from New York to Connecticut, USA to return the US$80,000 worth of rare black pearls to his passenger who forgot it at the rear back seat of his taxi. We are a people of truly good hospitality even to strangers.

We are a very caring and forgiving people. There is so much humanity and Christianity in us as a people. I really believe that, someday, we can be one of the most beautiful peoples on earth.

Let us focus on our beauty and strengths, and build from there. You and all the Pinoy expats and OFW’s should be, and could be, the best ambassadors for our home country and people. Rafael Salas, the founder of the United Nations Population Fund, said that every Filipino is an ambassador of our country.

9. If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines, teach them to save 15% or 20% of the funds.

If you are remitting funds to your relatives in the Philippines, please teach them to save at least 15% or 20% of the funds. Please teach your relatives the importance of savings. These savings seem small at the start, but even only after 2 years of savings, they will see the growth of their savings and how fast these are growing.

Also teach them to take their savings away from reach and put them in high- yielding investments like mutual funds or treasury bonds. There are many good financial advisers in this area. Teach your relatives to consult one on a regular basis. The book Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki is good start. The book Pera Mo, Palaguin Mo by Filipino author Francisco Colayco is also very good.

These savings, if handled and invested wisely, could mean the financial independence of your relatives from you in the future, or even from themselves. Teach your relatives to live simply and not to spend so much on unnecessary consumer items. There is so much beauty in simplicity. There is so much elegance in modesty.

10. Invest in the Philippines.

Finally, if you have extra funds and are looking for ways to invest them, please invest in our Philippines. There are good investment advisers who can help. The Philippines is a growing market – an emerging market, in the language of international banks and financial institutions. If you have investment ideas that can cater to the basic needs and desires of these 86 million Filipinos, you will make it big in our Philippines.

But more than that, every cent or dime that you invest in the Philippines will help our people and our country. And when you do it, you become our partner in building our nation. You become a good Filipino. You become a hero of our country.

Globalpinoy Chamber of Small and Medium Enterprises – Creating entrepreneurs from ordinary people

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