By Charissa Luci-Atienza
The chairman of the House committee on appropriations has rallied behind the Lower Chamber’s passage of a substitute bill designating Filipino Sign Language (FSL) as national sign language and official sign language for the deaf community in the country.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles endorsed the approval and eventual enactment of the substitute bill to House Bill (HB) No. 2094 or the proposed “Filipino Sign Language Act”.
“FSL is considered as an indigenous language to the Filipino deaf community, much like the spoken official language itself. In this regard, FSL deserves to be placed on a pedestal like what this measure is seeking,” he said.
“Moreover, it is said to be effortlessly learned from interactions of Filipino deaf children with other deaf kids and members of the deaf community,” Nograles said.
The Nograles panel already approved the funding provision of the currently unnumbered substitute bill and recommended the approval of the measure at its level without amendment.
The proposed “Filipino Sign Language Act” sought to declare FSL as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official language of government in all transactions involving the deaf. It was filed by ACT-Teachers Partylist Representatives Antonio Tinio and France Castro.
The bill mandates FSL’s use in schools, broadcast media and workplaces.
Under the substitute bill, FSL will be used as the medium of instruction of all institutions involved in deaf education. It provides for deaf teachers appropriate assessment evaluations under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC).
“In line with this, FSL interpreting shall be professionalized by Komisyon ng Wikang Pilipino,” Nograles said.
The bill states that all agencies involved in law enforcement and the administration of justice like prosecution offices, judicial agencies, barangay justice system, and others shall use FSL as the official language in investigations, hearings, proceedings and transactions.
It also mandates that the FSL shall be the official deaf language for the civil service and all government agencies and offices, including government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), the local health system and in broadcast media.
Experts from the Komisyon ng Wikang Pilipino, PRC, Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Technical Skills and Development Authority (TESDA), the Supreme Court (SC), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and other relevant agencies of the government are tasked to formulate the implementing rules and regulations or IRR of the proposed Act.