22nd WFD Regional Secretariat A-P Meeting, November 25-28

22nd WFP Regional Secretariat Poster with view of Tagaytay City venue

Yes folks, the 22nd World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat in Asia-Pacific Meeting will be held in my country, the Philippines from Novermber 25-28, 2010 at Tagaytay City. Here is the email sent by Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Rack Corpuz. She specifically requested that I won’t change any info mentioned in it:

———————
Dear PFD members and friends,

We are happy to inform you our forthcoming 22nd World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat Asia-Pacific will be held in Tagaytay City on November 25-28, 2010, this will be one of memorable event beacuse we made the history of 1st time to host international event, please help PFD by registering early.

Inform your friends too about this event.

See you there!

Rack

———————–

Here are some other information:

22nd World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat in
Asia / Pacific Representatives Meeting
November 25-28, 2010
Tagaytay City, Philippines

Local Participants Registration form

Option A (2 Nights) Accomodation at Girl Scout of the Philippines Center, Tagaytay City

Early bird on or before September 27, 2010
Php 3, 000.00

Late – Php 3,250.00

Option B (3 Nights) Accomodation at Girl Scout of the Philippines Center, Tagaytay City

Early bird on or before September 27, 2010
Php 3,500.00

Late Php 3,750.00

_____________________________________________________________________________

REGISTRATION DETAILS:
For pre-registration, please send your payment to
Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD)
Bank of Philippine Islands
Kamias-EDSA Branch, Quezon City , Philippines
Savings account number: 2023-5237-98

Name: __________________________________________
Address: ________________________________________
Association/Organization: __________________________
School/Company: _________________________________
Cp No. _______________________________
E-mail: _______________________________

Note: Please inform us about your payment and present your deposit slip as proof of your payment on the 1st day of the meeting for your room assignment and claiming meal stubs.

Interpreting 101: To mouth or not to mouth?

Seated from Left: ASP Head Nilo Sorongon, MCCID's Jerome Marzan, Me, Akap Pinoy's Daylin Taleon, Liliane Philippines' Tess Dela Cruz, NCDA Director Geraldine Ruiz and Nova Foundation's Noli Agcaoili

Two Saturdays ago, I was privileged to be invited in a workshop on disability in the Philippines sponsored by the Australian government. Since I’m used to attending these seminars with few or no representation from the deaf community, I decided to come with a deaf person with me, Jerome Marzan. He is a trainor in our school and at the same time a deaf leader in his hometown. It’s not a problem if I would interpret for him. It’s important that the deaf are represented in forums like these which aims to uplift their well-being through education.

Fortunately, they invited the right representative for the deaf community, Ms. Raquel Estiller-Corpuz, President of Philippine Federation of the Deaf. I was so glad that at last, the community was represented in that forum. I was also equally glad that she brought with her a sign language interpreter of her choice. I admit I’m already too old in remembering names so I’m sorry, that her name slipped my memory box. I only know that she is the daughter of one of my respected and admired Filipino deaf leaders, Mr. Rafaelito Abat. 🙂

Me interpreting for Ms. Heather Whitestone
Me interpreting for Ms. Heather Whitestone during her 1997 Manila Visit

Breakaway groups were formed. We joined with the Alternative Learning System for PWDs group. Deaf education was brought up and criticized. Sign language became an issue. One of our group invited a representative from the Department of Education to shed light on the matter. She passed the blame on teachers using sign language. She said that the DepEd is advocating for TOTAL COMMUNICATION and MOUTHING WORDS must be emphasized in teaching. She even commented that the interpreter hired by the organizer was a “pasaway” (too stubborn) because she signs while her mouth is closed. Ouch!

In my previous blog entitled Common Misconceptions about Deaf People, I mentioned that NOT ALL DEAF PEOPLE CAN READ LIPS. Lip reading is a high level skill. Not everybody has this ability. This brings me back to my title question, to mouth or not to mouth?

Five Key Elements

Based on my nearly two decades of experience in interpreting for the Filipino Deaf, I consider these five key elements when interpreting for them:

1. Specific Situations of Interpreting – Will I be interpreting in a legal situation? Medical? Religious? Job placement? Schools? Once I have established the condition, then I may adjust as to its needs and requirements.

2. Size of Interpreting Area – Will I be interpreting on a large congregation in an auditorium? A 15-seater classroom? Or a one-on-one session? Mouthing words in a large gathering is almost useless because they cannot see the movement of your lips, unless you are beamed to a white panel screen where your face can be seen from afar.

3. Educational Background of the Deaf – This proves to be the most difficult element when interpreting because of the diversity of the community. If you are interpreting on a school setting, you are most likely in front of deaf students with more or less the same cognitive levels. Church or social community gatherings are the hardest place to interpret because you can only guess the general educational background of the audience.

4. Language Used – The Philippines is a bi-lingual country. English is the medium of instruction in schools and government. We are the fifth largest English speaking country in the world with 52% of the population are English users. Filipino or Tagalog is widely used language for the rest of the sector including the very basic environment, the home. Since a pre-lingual deaf learns their first language in school, they would most likely acquire English. It may be fortunate if the speaker uses English for the whole duration of his talk. The SL interpreter can mouth every words. Now what if he intermingles the two languages? Worst, what if he uses straight Filipino?

5. Orientation of the Deaf – There are cases wherein we may encounter deaf people who are orally oriented. In this situation, mouthing words would be very beneficial. But then again, we might also consider element #3 wherein the speaker may use one or two languages. Another situation may be for deaf persons with severely restricted language skills. Since a low verbal deaf may not have attended formal schooling, they encounter mostly hearing people in their community. Chances are, they are most adapted to lip reading.

In a classroom setup where the teacher is the main actor, he may employ total communication as the best tool in giving his lessons. According to Ms. Jamie Berke’s About.com guide,

Some parents and educators favor total communication as a catch-all that ensures that a deaf child has access to some means of communication (speaking as needed, or signing as needed). For example, a deaf child who can not communicate well orally gets the additional support of sign language, and vice versa. Using total communication can also reduce the pressure on parents to choose one method over another.

However, she also mentioned about its disadvantages. She said that signing and speaking at the same time can result in a compromise that affects the quality of one or the other. This can impact the quality of educational information received by a deaf student.

I hope that the people who run the Department of Education would make a more thorough research and study on this. I also hope that they would have an open mind and consider other aspects in handling students with various language acquisitions.

Considering the five factors I mentioned, it’s up to the sign language interpreter’s better judgement on how he can convey the speaker’s message across the majority of the deaf listeners. What’s important is that they understand what you are signing and not just aimlessly waving your hands in the air. 🙂

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First Filipino Deaf in Death Row Freed

PFD President Racquel Corpuz, Marlon Parazo, Ptr. Rodel Manila and Mr. Rafaelito Abat
PFD President Racquel Corpuz, Marlon Parazo, Ptr. Rodel Manila and Mr. Rafaelito Abat

Finally, the first Filipino deaf convicted by the court is freed. Marlon Parazo, a Deaf-mute and mentally-retarded who was sentenced to death penalty by lethal injection, was finally freed last December 22, 2008 and given a second lease on his life. Hurray for the justice system albeit quite late!

His release was based on the medical findings by the Supreme Court. According to the report, he could not understand the whole proceedings and charges against him due to his loss of hearing and being a mental retardate.

This was announced by Philippine Federation of the Deaf (PFD) President, Racquel Estiller Corpuz who worked double time with Atty. Gregorio Viterbo of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), Willfredo Corpuz III a Deaf from Tarlac and Philippine Deaf Resource Center.

Prior to his release, Marlon has been languishing in Tarlac Provincial Jail and National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa.

Since his own family already disowned him, Pastor Rodel Manila of Samar Imanuel Deaf Christian Church accepted Marlon to shelter him in Borongan, Eastern Samar. I was introduced to Ptr. Rodel last Sunday (January 4) at Capitol City Baptist Church by Sis. May Andrada, wife of Ptr. Julius. He told us that Marlon is still temporarily residing at PFD Office while they are preparing for his travel to Samar. We are very grateful that their deaf church took the responsibility of caring for Marlon.

I remember in February 1999 when the convicted rapist Leo Echegaray, the first person to be executed in the Philippines in 23 years. That was the time when the country started to scrutinize the background of all convicts who are on death row. Marlon Parazo’s name came up. His is unique because he is the only deaf-mute (He can’t speak and diagnosed with mental illness) sentenced to death penalty. That was also the time when the deaf community especially those in Metro Manila had a serious campaign against his conviction. Each of our students at MCCID wrote their personal letters requesting the senate and then President Joseph Estrada to stop his execution, review his case and free him because of the injustice that he received from the court. After nine years, our petitions were realized.

Congratulations to all of those who helped his case brought to justice. I salute the efforts made by Philippine Federation of the Deaf. Special commendation goes to Wilfredo and Gilda (MCCID Alumni). We are truly proud of all of you for a job well done. Let’s hope that Marlon will have a better and more reformed life now that he is reunited with the society. 🙂

Here is the entire email sent by Philippine Federation of the Deaf to the deaf community.

Dear Friends,

We would like to share good news, Marlon Parazo the Deaf that sentenced to die in lethal injection and has been languished in Tarlac Provincial jail after he get out from National Penetentiary in Muntinlupa. was set free and given second lease of life.

I was teamed up with Atty. Gregorio Viterbo of Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) and Willfredo Corpuz III (Deaf local of Tarlac) and PDRC. We were able to secure Marlon Parazo release last December 22, 2008

Pastor Rodel Manila of Samar Imanuel Deaf Christian Church accepted Marlon to shelter him in Borongan, Eastern Samar since his own family in Moncada, Tarlac and Palayan, Nueva Ecija disowned him.

Marlon had subject to court hearing without access to fair trial endeed he didnt defend himself, Amnesty International pleaded of his release in the early years of his incarceration in Muntinlupa.

Philippine Federation of the Deaf would like to thanks Atty. Viterbo, Mr. Corpuz, Gilda Quintua, Pastor Andy Pena (Hearing), Pastor Rodel Manila (Deaf), Dr. Liza Martinez, City Social Welfare Deverlopment of Tarlac City, Mrs Liwanag Caldito and Mr. Raffy Abat who fetched Marlon in Tarlac Provincial Jail and those (who) pledged financial assistance for Marlon’s transportation to Samar.

Sincerely yours,

Rack Estiller-Corpuz
President

Amnesty International, a worldwide movement of people who campaign for internationally recognized human rights for all has prepared a background study and a Medical Letter Writing Action Document about Marlon’s case.

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