Filipino Sign Language bill hurdles final reading in Senate
A bill declaring the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as an official medium of instruction and mode of communication has been approved by the Senate in the third and final reading on Tuesday.
“Let’s establish the official language for the deaf, the Filipino Sign Language, to promote the right of the deaf community in the Philippines to their identity, expression, and communication,” Senator Bam Aquino, sponsor of Senate Bill No. 1455 or the FSL bill.
“The use of sign language in the Philippines dates back to 1596. FSL has since evolved to be an effective visual language that is well-researched, based on Filipino culture and history, and even incorporates indigenous elements,” he added.
“This would be particularly helpful in our courts and police stations so that deaf Filipinos have a fair share in our justice system,” Aquino said.
According to Senator Nancy Binay, who co-sponsored the proposal, there is a need to adopt standards that would guide Filipinos who are deaf and those who have a hard time hearing.
“The State should recognize and promote the use of sign languages embodying the specific cultural and linguistic identity of the Filipino deaf,” Binay said.
Once the bill is enacted, Filipinos with hearing problems would have avenues to express their views and opinions without being hindered by their condition.
FSL would be used to teach deaf Filipinos, as a separate subject in educational institutions for deaf learners.
The measure — co-authored by Senators Francis Escudero, Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri — will allow the government to employ FSL-trained interpreters who will communicate with the deaf in government transactions.
Aquino said with the FSL bill, those with hearing problems will understand what is being discussed, through interpretation in television programs.
The bill will require the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP), the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and other stakeholders to create a national system of standards and accreditation for FSL interpretation in the media. /vvp
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.