STATEMENT ON THE MOCKING OF THE DEAF COMMUNITY AND FILIPINO SIGN LANGUAGE BY DREW OLIVAR AND MOCHA USON
The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde in support of the Philippine Deaf Community condemns the behavior and actions of Mr. Andrew Olivar and PCOO Assistant Secretary Margaux Justiniano
“Mocha” Uson in the video posted on the Mocha Uson Blog Facebook Page on September 14, 2018 (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1699510846824396&id=31977918651). In the said video, Mr. Olivar was clearly seen gesturing and mimicking sign language with glottal sounds while ASec. Uson and another unidentified person could be heard snickering and making snide, insulting remarks off-camera. We in the Benildean Community find their actions very offensive and disrespectful to the Filipino Deaf Community.
Such is a clear violation of RA 9442, which penalizes verbal, non-verbal ridicule and vilification against persons with disability. Furthermore, under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability (UNCRPD), to which the Philippines is a signatory of, the country must be able to pass and implement laws that ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms of persons with disability, which include non-discrimination. The mimicry of sign language and of the Deaf’s voice, as well as the statements of incitement and insult from a government official and a blogger, are definitely, discriminating against the Deaf, their culture, and language.
We call on the government to take action against Mr. Olivar and ASec. Uson, and impose the appropriate penalties as provided by law. Furthermore, the acts of ASec. Uson are deemed unbecoming of a government official who, according to RA 6713, is expected to have a high standard of ethics in public service. We urge this government to consider the removal of ASec. Uson. We call on the radio station DWIZ to enforce values of truth, respect, and decency in broadcasting not just from their program hosts but from their guests as well.
The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, as an inclusive educational institution that houses the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies and the Benilde Deaf School, remains vigilant and will continue to hold accountable those who demean and ridicule the Filipino Deaf Community and Filipino Sign Language. We support the Deaf community and Persons with Disability in the pursuit of full enjoyment and realization of their rights without any discrimination.