Senators Nancy Binay and Grace Poe on Monday expressed dismay over the viral video of Presidential Communications Group Assistant Secretary Margaux "Mocha" Uson and blogger Andrew "Drew" Olivar where the latter pretended to be a deaf-mute person.
“Hindi nakakatuwa ang huling video ni Asec. Mocha Uson at Drew Olivar. It is disrespectful to the sizeable deaf/mute community who already struggle in airing their concerns and aspirations,” Binay said in a press statement.
The senator, author and co-sponsor of the Filipino Sign Language Bill, said such discriminatory actions set back efforts to make the society more inclusive by providing a more conducive environment for deaf Filipinos to exercise their right to expression without prejudice.
“Bilang author at co-sponsor ng Filipino Sign Language Bill na naglalayong kilalanin at suportahan ang pagpapatupad ng sign language sa lahat ng transaksyon at sa edukasyon ng deaf community na kaka-pasa lamang ng Senado, nababahala ako sa epekto ng ganitong pangungutiya at panghamak,” she said.
Binay reminded Uson that as a public official, it is paramount that she refrain from mocking the people she serves.
“And just so the others also become more aware, making fun of persons with disabilities is in violation of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act (RA) 9442). Again, sign language should never be made an amusement piece,” she said.
Poe said public officers should be sensitive to the sentiment of different groups.
“Mas malaki sigurong responsibilidad dahil ikaw ay nasa gobyerno. Lahat tayo ay libreng magbigay ng ating saloobin, may kalayaan tayo d’yan pero kapag ikaw ay naninilbihan sa gobyerno, kailangan ikaw ay maging tamang huwaran at magmula sa iyo ang tamang pakikitungo sa tao,” she told reporters.
She added public servants should always think twice before doing anything.
“Kahit na meron tayong gustong gawin, kung hindi naman karapat dapat at maaaring makasakit sa damdamin ng iba lalong lalo na hindi naman ito isang isyu na kailangan o kaya kung ikaw ay magbibigay ng tapat na statement, maaaring hindi mag-agree ‘yung iba pwede naman pero pagdating sa mga biro biro, syempre isipin muna natin ‘yung ginagawa natin,” she said.
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV, for his part, said the Filipino deaf community should be supported and empowered.
“We hope to build a society where every Filipino is valued and respected,” he said in a press statement.
He said the Senate has passed on third and final reading Senate Bill No. 1455 which seeks to recognize Filipino Sign Language or FSL as the national sign language and endeavors to bring it to the mainstream and give the deaf community better access to government services, information, education, and justice.
If enacted into law, the FSL will become the official mode of communication of the deaf for government services, calling for trained interpreters in various government offices.
The measure also aims to make FSL as means of interpretation in broadcast media, delivering news and information consistently to the deaf community. —NB, GMA News