“Deaf” or “Hearing Impaired”?

I was very blessed this January for having travelled to different places in the country that I have never been in my entire life. And those places are not just places, but “the places” to be during this time of the year. Imagine going to Kalibo, Aklan to celebrate the “Ati Atihan” street festival and in Iloilo City for their “Dinagyang” festival. To top it off, we went to the world famous white-sand beach of “Boracay“! πŸ™‚

All of these great trips weren’t possible if not for the invitation from Liliane Foundation Philippines. We had our first taste of the new system that they will be implementing for all of their partner-organizations. They had their opening salvo for the Visayas mediators and organizations that serve persons with disabilities.

Liliane Foundation Philippines
Liliane Foundation Philippines

During the group discussions, most of the members label their clients as visually impaired, orthopedically impaired or ortho, autistic, mentally impaired and hearing impaired. Probably that is what they were brought up to tag the children they assist. When one of the participants from West Visayas requested me to assist their “Hearing Impaired” constituents for their IT training, I can’t help but feel surprised that they still call them as such.

Sir Ervin explains about deaf and MCCID.
The same thing happened during the interview in one of the daytime TV programs here in Manila last Monday.* Β The first question asked by the host was, “How do we call you, deaf or hearing impaired?” Luckily, they invited prominent deaf people like Indie Film Actor Romalito Mallari and IT Expert Ervin Reyes. They both replied that they are more comfortable being called Deaf.

Now, how do we really call them, Deaf or Hearing Impaired?

I tried to google to get the answer. I got quite a few hits and video blogs like Jackseyes and DSQ89. Often they combine or interchange the two words. So I wasn’t able to get the right answer.

Although each country has its own legislations and policies regarding persons with disabilities, we must consider getting the answer from an accepted international treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UN-CRPD). This law was ratified by the Philippines in 2008. Policies, future laws and bills that are filed must be anchored from the UN-CRPD which is fundamentally the rights based approached.

If you scan UN-CRPD, it never mentioned the word “Hearing Impaired”. It used sensory impairments in Article 1.Β Sign language and interpreter words appeared in Article 2, Article 9, Article 21 which seek to promote it.Β Article 30 also included the respect of deaf culture. Deaf, deaf community and deaf/blind was mentioned in Article 24 thrice.

Article 24 – Education explicitly states that:

b) Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;

Based on these, I can safely say that the the word DEAF is the politically correct and rights based approach in calling them. Besides, “hearing impaired” focused on the impairment while “Deaf” focused on the person. πŸ™‚

* – “Full Time Moms”, hosted by Suzie Abrera and Regine Tolentino aired at QTV-11

Yay! First 120,000 Visits!

Facebook Pages Logos in front of Jojo's Facebook Profile Snapshot in blur.

Cheers!!!! My blog has reached its first 120,000 visitors since I started blogging actively in April 2008! πŸ™‚

Actually my blog already reached the 120,000th mark a week ago. I wasn’t paying much attention to it since I am too much pre-occupied with the main culprit, Facebook! I visit my Facebook profile every time I’m connected to the Internet. The last time I posted something here was nearly three weeks ago, while my Facebook wall post is updated almost daily! tsk tsk tsk

Blogging and posting on Facebook wall are entirely different bananas. You need to spend a longer time composing a blog, while thinking a wall post will only consume around two minutes or so. Blogging entails a more detailed and insightful research on the topic. Since my blog is about deafness, deaf and their culture; I cannot deviate much from it. Inasmuch as I want to include issues from my other loves like web designing, Christian living and music, I am compelled not to post something about them simply because I will be “out of topic”.

Talking about Facebook stats; I already have 513 friends. Nearly a third of that are from my Social City buddies. The rest are my MCCID deaf students, alumni and friends. I’m also surprised that my V. Mapa High School classmates were able to track me down! I already have 20 friends from way back the time of Xanadu’s “Magic”, Air Supply’s “All Out of Love”, Irene Cara’s “Fame” and John Lennon’s “Just like Starting Over”. Yah! John Lennon was still alive when I finished high school! πŸ™‚

I already created four Fan Pages in Facebook. The first one was for our college for the deaf, the second one was for Liliane Foundation Philippines, while the third one was for the first Filipino Sign Language Font which can be downloaded and installed for FREE. The latest is for our Philippine Web Accessibility Group.

Among the four pages, our college for the deaf topped with 855 likes with 319 active users. It is in this Page where I posted some very important announcements concerning the school. This is followed by Filipino Sign Language Font which has 606 likes and 92 active users. Incidentally, the FSL Font has already been downloaded more than 1500 times as of today, thanks to Facebook. Liliane Foundation Philippines has 54 likes with 30 monthly active users. Philippine Web Accessibility Group now has 50 likes with 48 active users.

One great feature of WordPress is its ability to track down the number of visits from your other WordPress designed sites using the same built in API keys. You can also use this for their equally neat Akismet spam blocking plugin. Based on this I was able to know the number of visitors from the following WordPress sites of:

My blog now has 222 posts with 583 comments and 512 tags. My top referrer is still Deafread.com now followed closely by Facebook. Thank you very much my dear readers, whether you are hearing or deaf! Now, on to my first 140,000th visitors! πŸ™‚

1st Philippine Web Design Conference a Success

More than 400 attendees, way above the group’s goal, trooped to Asian Institute of Management (AIM) last July 10 to attend the very first Philippine Web Design Conference spearheaded by the newly formed Philippine Web Designers Organization (PWDO).

Panel of speakers
Conference Attendees
Who would have thought that an event as big as this would succeed? Although it was already planned as early as September 2008, it wasn’t until early April when everything starts to roll (thanks to the completion of registration at the Securities and Exchange Commission in March 31.). There were so many kinks to iron out. As late as July 6, the group was still having a problem opening a bank account at BDO due to a mile long requirements which includes the securing of the General Information Sheet (GIS) from SEC. And to top it all, even if more than 300 registered online, only two persons actually paid in cash!

Well, everything went great, way above our expectations! As part of the organizing team, I was aware about the group’s day-to-day developments. The bank account was successfully opened after I got the GIS from SEC. The Asian Institute of Management officials were very generous in giving the group a great venue, good food, free coffee and free wi-fi. The speakers were eloquent and knows their craft. The event started on time but ended quite late due to the Q and A part.

What I am really proud of is the successful holding of the “Disabled Friendly Website Awards” courtesy of the Philippine Web Accessibility Group and the National Council on Disability Affairs. Previous awarding rites were led by the government as part of their program of events. This time, I’m proud to say that it was done in a non-government affair and in front of “real” web designers, not just some government employees who attend government sponsored seminar-workshops with the sole purpose of escaping from work and getting the comforts of free hotels and travel.

I’m also doubly proud that all recipients of the awards were present. They were:

  1. www.philcecnet.ph – Official Philippine E-center Community Portal of the National Computer Center represented by Ms. Eloisa San Mateo (Government)
  2. www.blinding-light.com – Personal Website of Ms.Miko Reznor (Anna Monica Esguerra)
  3. www.lilianefoundationphil.org – Official Website of Liliane Foundation Philippines represented by Sis. Agnetia Naval, National Coordinator (Non-government Organization)
  4. webstandards.raquedan.com – Web Standards Website of Regnard Raquedan (Personal Website)

They all received a plaque of appreciation courtesy of the NCDA.

Awardees pose together with NCDA Director Geraldine Ruiz
Awardees (from left): Regnard Raquedan, Eloisa San Mateo, Sis. Agnetia Naval, Anna Monica Esguerra, Jojo Esposa and NCDA Director Geraldine Ruiz.

Regnard, PWDO’s President, on his interview by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said the group envisions third party certification for Web design in the Philippines. They also look to help train designers in developing their skills further and also to establish ethical and best practice guidelines.

He remarked,

“We’d like to make Filipino Web designers more reliable for an international market and make them more innovative.”

To all the awardees, thank you very much for promoting web accessibility in your websites! And to the PWDO group, you know who you are, kudos to all of us for a job well done! Let’s calendar July as the date when web design conference will always be held. πŸ™‚

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