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Senate passes bill promoting Filipino sign language, deaf rights

Senate passes bill promoting Filipino sign language, deaf rights

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Deaf persons stand to benefit from the recently passed bill in the Senate which will promote Filipino sign language (FSL) as the official medium of instruction and mode of communication in schools, government offices, and broadcast media.

With 20 affirmative votes and zero negative votes, the Senate yesterday has passed on third and final reading Senate Bill 1455 sponsored by Senator Paolo Benigno “Bam” Aquino IV, which aims to promote the rights of the deaf to “identity, expression, and communication.”

Once enacted to law, FSL will be used as the mode of instruction in educating deaf learners. The bill also requires schools and educational institutions to have a separate subject in the curriculum exclusive for the teaching of FSL.

Transactions in government will also be covered by ensuring that there are FSL-trained interpreters and personnel to attend to the needs of deaf people. This includes public hearings, proceedings, and transactions of the courts, quasi-judicial agencies, and other tribunals.

FSL interpreter insets will also be required of media broadcasts and programming, news and public affairs, and in educational television programs for children.

Institutions and agencies such as the University of the Philippines, Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, and Movie and Television Review and Classification Board are tasked through the measure to create national standards for the use of FSL in education and in media.

According to the introductory note by Senator Nancy Binay, sign language in the Philippines can be traced back as early as of the establishment of the very first School of the Deaf in 1907.

“The State should recognize and promote the use of sign languages embodying the specific cultural and linguistic identity of the Filipino deaf,” Binay said.


Header photo courtesy of Inquirer Libre

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