By Czarina Nicole Ong
Another complaint has reached the Office of the Ombudsman against Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson – this time, for her mockery of the deaf community in the country.
Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Carolyn Dagani filed a complaint against Uson and blogger Drew Olivar for violating the Magna Carta 9277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, among many other things, for uploading the “Pepederalismo for Deaf People” video on Facebook on September 14, 2018.
Dagani and the rest of the deaf community were offended by what Uson and Olivar did in the video.
Olivar, in particular, made hand gesticulations and body movements, which from the perspective of fluent deaf signers are mere gibberish.
For those who are unfamiliar with sign language, his actions can even be interpreted as sexual connotations.
What’s worse, Olivar made sounds akin to what is recognized in the field of deafness as a “deaf voice,” which some members of the deaf community make while communicating.
While Olivar was making these gesticulations, Uson watched him perform the entire time and can be heard laughing in the background. At certain points, Uson would ask Olivar what he was doing and remark that he looked like a monkey.
The video was barely a minute long, but Dagani and her fellow deaf members are nonetheless outraged by Uson and Olivar’s “insult to the entire deaf community, and to all persons with disabilities.”
“Even though Olivar was just inventing his hand movements, it was vulgar. He says he was just being childish but he has disrespected the body and gender,” the affidavit read. “He sets a very dangerous public example for hearing people anywhere in the world to copy, and make fun of deaf and hearing people signing, and for deaf children and other children with disabilities to be bullied and ridiculed even more.”
Dagani said that Uson and Olivar should recognize what a rich visual language the Filipino sign language is, and she accused them of discrimination because of their mockery.
“Uson and Olivar were laughing and making fun of us. Together, they stepped all over us and crushed us, killing our dignity,” the affidavit read.