By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic can either bring out the best or worst in people, and the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is saddened by the news that Filipino Sign Language (FSL) interpreters are being ridiculed despite their service for the people.
FSL interpreters are present in television news and public affairs programs in order to provide information for the deaf and those hard of hearing. The CHR noted, however, that several social media posts, memes, and comments have been made ridiculing these interpreters.
CHR spokesperson Atty Jacqueline Ann de Guia said these sign language interpreters should be respected because their contribution to society is crucial, especially during this pandemic.
“Turning FSL interpreters as objects of ridicule trivializes the struggles of the deaf and interpreting communities and downplays triumphs of the Filipino Deaf, such as the passage of the Filipino Sign Language Act, which, among others, makes FSL interpreter insets as mandatory in televised public affairs broadcasts,” she said.
The CHR is urging everyone to be “as humane and inclusive in this time of a national health emergency.”
As the country tries to rise from the challenges brought about by the spread of COVID-19, de Guia said it is important to ensure that no one gets left behind, even the deaf, those hard of hearing, and other persons with disabilities.
“They too have an opportunity for their concerns to be heard and seen,” she stressed.