Duterte signs Filipino Sign Language Act into law
Ana Arce, the first Filipina to be awarded the Nippon-Gallaudet World Deaf Leadership Scholarship, is seen in this file photo.
File photo

Duterte signs Filipino Sign Language Act into law

Alexis Romero (Philstar.com) - November 12, 2018 - 10:01pm

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law declaring Filipino sign language as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of government. 

Duterte signed into law Republic Act No. 11106, or the Filipino Sign Language Act, last Oct. 30. 

The enactment of the law was in compliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention aims to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disabilities. 

Under the law, Filipino sign language will be recognized, promoted and supported as the medium of official communication in all transactions involving the deaf and as the language of instruction of dead communication. 

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The Department of Education, the Commission on Higher Education, the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority and other agencies involved in the eduation of the deaf were tasked to work together on the use of Filipino sign language as medium of instruction. 

The language will also be taught as a separate subject in the curriculum for deaf learners. The Professional Regulation Commission and teacher education programs are directed to use alternative assessment procedures that would consider the conditions and abilities of deaf teachers. 

All national and local government agencies and centers providing education to deaf students are expected to train and to evaluate their teachers. 

The University of the Philippines, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), and experts in collaaboration with CHED, DepEd and the Early Childhood Care and Development Council shall develop guidelines for the development of training materials in the education of the deaf. KWF was directed to establish a national system of standards, accreditation and procedures for Filipino sign language interpreting. 

Official language

Filipino sign language shall also be the official language of legal interpreting for the deaf in all public hearings, proceedings and transactions of the courts, quasi-judicial agencies and other tribunals. The law requires courts to ensure the availability of a qualified sign language interpreter in all proceedings involving the deaf. 

All government offices are tasked to take reasonable measures to encourage the use of Filipino sign language among its deaf and hearing employees. 

The Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board shall require Filipino sign language interpreter insets in news and public affairs programs within one year from the effective date of the law. 

An interagency council composed of representatives from the KWF, Commission on Human Rights, Council for the Welfare of Children, Philippine Commission on Women, and Filipino sign language institutions will be formed to monitor the implementation of the law. 

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