By Mario Casayuran
Government agencies must translate all documents including announcements, advisories, press releases, and other information on local and national disasters to Tagalog or the vernacular language, Senator. Manuel “Lito” Lapid said on Friday.
Lapid said this after filing Senate Bill 1539, the Language Accessibility of Public Information on Disaster Act.
A native of Pampanga, Lapid noted that most, if not all advisories, announcements, or issuances regarding impending disasters or calamities are delivered either in English or Tagalog. ‘’But for a country like the Philippines where more than 170 languages are spoken, the government’s aim to keep its constituents well informed of and prepared for impending disasters fall short of its objective because not all could understand English or Tagalog,’’ he pointed out.
He said his measure seeks to ensure that information relating to impending calamities or emergencies such as those on epidemics, outbreaks, social amelioration program, emergency assistance, and other social protection measures of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) are converted into an easily understandable form and translated to Tagalog or the appropriate dialect.
“Nais nating ang lahat ng impormasyon ukol sa mga kalamidad ay madaling maunawaan, lalo na ng ating mga kababayan sa iba’t ibang rehiyon,’’ he said (We want all disaster-related information to be language-accessible and readily-comprehensive, especially to speakers of our regional languages and dialects.)
Lapid said the translated information should be disseminated as widely as possible through all available media and communication channels.
He explained that the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) should render the necessary technical assistance and expertise to the government agencies and local government units (LGUs) and monitor their compliance to the duties mandated by the Act.