By Mario Casayuran
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV pushed for the passage by the Upper House of Senate Bill 966 (Filipino Sign Language Act) after congratulating sign language interpreters for making accessible to deaf Filipinos President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) last Monday.
Aquino said many saluted or lauded the interpreters for making the sign language available to deaf persons during the two-hour SONA.
“We hope this also translates to a better appreciation of Filipino sign language.”
The measure seeks to declare Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as the national sign language of the Filipino Deaf and the official language of the Philippine government in all transactions with the deaf.
In addition, the measure also mandates the use of FSL in schools, workplaces, and broadcast media.
In his four years as lawmaker, Aquino said he has tirelessly worked for the welfare of persons with disabilities (PWDs) by pushing the passage of Republic Act 10754, which exempts PWDs from paying value added tax (VAT), in the 16th Congress as co-author.
He said he also worked for the passage of Republic Act 10905, the Closed Caption Law, as co-author.
It requires television networks to use the closed captioning system for news and current affairs programs and entertainment shows for the benefit of viewers with hearing impairment.
In the current 17th Congress, Aquino filed Senate Bill No. 967 requiring Filipino Sign Language insets for local news programs. He also filed Senate Bill No. 1249 seeking to mandate government offices and private companies to allocate a percentage of their workforce for PWDs.
Tags: deaf Filipinos, Filipino Sign Language Act, Filipino Sign Language bill pushed, Manila Bulletin, President Duterte, President Duterte’s State of the Nation Address, Upper House of Senate Bill 966