Press Release
August 29, 2018

Nancy Binay lauds passage of Filipino Sign Language bill

Senator Nancy Binay lauded the passage of the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) bill in the third and final reading in the Senate, which will give the Filipino deaf an official medium of instruction and communication.

Senate Bill number 1455 mandates that the Filipino Sign Language shall be recognized, promoted, and supported as the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf, and as the language of instruction of deaf education, without prejudice to the use of other forms of communication depending on individual choice or preference.

"Filipinos who are hard of hearing will be able to exercise their right to expression and opinion without prejudice to their condition," Binay, the author and co-sponsor of SB 1455.

"There is a need to identify and adopt standards that would guide the development and advancement, especially in communicating of the deaf and hard of hearing," she added.

It is estimated that around 120,000 Filipinos are deaf, according to the national census done in the year 2000.

"Maaaring tumaas pa ang figures during the past 18 years, at natatakot ako na maraming mga PWDs ang hindi nakakatamasa ng kanilang mga karapatan," Binay said.

SB1455 also mandates that:

  • FSL will be used in all government transactions, most especially in the Judiciary, in the Health system, and in frontline offices that provide services to the deaf.

  • There will be a national system of standards, accreditations, and procedures for FSL interpreting, as well as policies on the practice of interpreting as a profession.

  • FSL will be the medium of instruction in deaf education, as well as part of the curriculum for deaf learners. Training materials in the education of the deaf will also be developed and training for teachers will be undertaken.

  • The KBP and the MTRCB, the deaf community, and other stakeholders will create a national system of standards, procedures and accreditation for broadcast media interpreting in FSL. All videos published online including those on social media, shall also conform to Philippine web accessibility standards.

  • Appropriate steps to propagate sign language competency among hearing people will also be promoted.

"With the bill's passage into law, it would free our fellow Filipinos who are deaf or hard of hearing from illiteracy, marginalization, and oppression; and make them partners in nation-building," Binay said.

"Closer to home, qualified FSL interpreters would be provided in our Senate hearings, sessions, and other activities," she added.

Binay's party, the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) first provided sign language support in most, if not all, of its 2013 campaign rallies for the benefit of persons with disabilities, particularly the deaf community.

She also filed Senate Resolution number 480, which urged to make the Senate a PWD-friendly institution by urging the body to provide sign language interpreters in Senate sessions and committee hearings.

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