Tag Archives: De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde

Sign Language & Politics

Is it more important for the sign language to be used to the letter than for it to draw a point?

For Sen. Nancy Binay, author of the Senate Bill 14551, it is. What Presidential Communications Operations Office Assistant Secretary Esther Margaux “Mocha” Uson and blogger Andrew “Drew” Olivar have done is actually a sign of disrespect “to the sizeable deaf/mute community who already struggle in airing their concerns and aspirations.”

Asec. Uson and Olivar have posted a video in September 14 on the “Mocha Uson Blog” that featured the latter pretending to be a hearing-speech impaired person, flailing his arms around, and making squeaking sounds.

“Such discriminatory actions set back our efforts to make our society more inclusive by providing a more conducive environment for deaf Filipinos to exercise their right to expression without prejudice,” the senator was quoted as saying in a report.

The University of the Philippines-Diliman College of Education Student Council agrees. So apart from condemning the “outright form of discrimination,” it demanded a public apology from Asec. Uson.

“Such seat in the government should not be carelessly given to people who do not take precedence and give value to the importance of a community’s language and culture,” it pointed in the same report.

The Philippine Federation of the Deaf, on the other hand, has gone to filing a complaint against the former board member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) before the Office of the Ombudsman. It also filed a complaint at the Commission on Human Rights alongside the Philippine Deaf Resource Center and the Philippine Coalition on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Asec. Uson has violated the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, the Civil Code of the Philippines, the Cybercrime Prevention Act, the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the groups claimed.

Other institutions appalled by Asec. Uson and Olivar are the PWD Philippines, and the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde.

This was not the first time Asec. Uson has offended the Filipino public. Student leaders of Akbayan Youth have charged Asec. Uson in April 2 with grave misconduct, serious dishonesty and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.

She has also caused cyberbullying attacks against students from St. Scholastica’s College, stated that Mayon Volcano was in Naga City, dared several opposition public officials to visit the wake of a slayed police officer who had died a year earlier, posted a photograph of Honduran military forces in place of the Philippine military, alleged Senator Antonio Trillanes IV to have offshore bank accounts, and called Vice President Leni Robredo “bobo” at least five times on live radio.

“We welcome the public apology the duo recently issued. However, for an apology to be genuine, it must be coupled with a full sense of accountability, concrete actions to rectify the wrong done, and future actions should manifest efforts to protect and promote the welfare and dignity of the PWDs.” ~ Commission on Human Rights

1Otherwise called “The Filipino Sign Language Act,” the proposed law intends to adopt the FSL as an official language of instruction and communication of the deaf in the Philippines. It would be the official sign language in all government transactions involving them in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces.

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Disability in Filipino women

For one school of thought, women with disabilities face “double discrimination” because of their gender and disability. Another see it as a “triple discrimination” since women with disabilities also have to live in poverty as a result of inequality in hiring, promotion rates and pay for equal work.

In the Philippines, in particular, women with disabilities are more likely to be institutionalized. They experience difficulty in attaining access to adequate housing, health, education, vocational training and employment. There were conventions—the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, the General Assembly resolution 63/150 of 18 December 2008, the Beijing Platform for Action, and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to name a few—that ensure their rights and urges states to pay special attention to their needs but it hadn’t been enough.

Among of the disabilities common in Filipino women are poliomyelitis, blindness, and deafness.

Poliomyelitis—or simply polio—is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease. It can lead to paralysis and debilitate a person’s brain and spinal cord. It didn’t dishearten Gracia Cielo “Grace” Magno Padaca, though. She has become the governor of Isabela since 2004 and has received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Public Service in 2008.

A lack of vision brought about by a severe reaction to over-the-counter medications affected the eyesight of Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog when she was six years old. Despite her blindness, Roselle graduated with the highest honors from the Holy Infant Montessori in 1986, Batino Elementary School in 1993, Ramon Magsaysay High School-Manila in 1997, and Ateneo de Manila University in 2001. She is currently an access technology specialist working for software and hardware companies in Europe and North America while here in the Philippines.

Deafness is the complete inability to hear sound. Its only method of treatment is a hearing aid, a device worn in the ear that amplifies the volume of sound electronically. It’s what had afflicted Ana Kristina Arce when she was born, a class valedictorian at the Philippine School for the Deaf, a magna cum laude at the De La Salle – College of Saint Benilde (CSB), and a degree holder at the Gallaudet University. She is currently the graphic artist in CSB.

Also deaf, Gilda Nakahara uses pen, paper, and the Filipino Sign Language to run the Nakahara Lodging and Travel Agency, a travel and tour business primarily for deaf people around the world. She has been recognized at the Go Negosyo Caravan for People with Disabilities in De Salle –College of St. Benilde in 2007 and has helped establish a deaf organization in  Eastern Samar.

“Everyone experiences disabilities one way or another; mine is just more obvious than yours. We are all fortunate to have loved ones, who help us bear the burdens brought about by our weaknesses. We may find ourselves in the dark, but we should not be afraid to move forward, because we have the light of our stars to count on, and to be thankful for.” ~ Roselle Rodriguez Ambubuyog

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Osmosis

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Molly Burke

Video taken from the YouTube Channel of Howcast