How Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar are sending all the wrong signals

September 18, 2018 - 3:21 PM
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Mocha Uson and her co-blogger Andrew Olivar drew another round of heavy criticisms for perceived mockery of the sign language. (Screenshot from Facebook/Mocha Uson Blog)
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Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and her co-blogger Drew Olivar have apparently not yet learned their lesson as they are again under fire for a video clip that ridicules a person using sign language.

Tambay na! 12-1pm sa DWIZ

Posted by MOCHA USON BLOG on Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sign language is a form of communication that makes use of hand and body gestures for people who are unable to speak due to disability.

This should not be imitated or used to entertain and ridicule in any way, the University of the Philippines-Diliman Education Student Council pointed out in an official statement on Facebook.

[STATEMENT ON MOCHA USON AND DREW OLIVAR'S MOCKING OF THE SIGN LANGUAGE]Just recently, a video of blogger Drew Olivar…

Posted by UPD College of Education Student Council on Saturday, September 15, 2018

“It is not in any way acceptable for anyone, regardless of his or her position in the society, to imitate or to use the language for fun/entertainment as it is blatantly disrespectful and is an outright form of discrimination to the culture and to the members of the deaf community,” the UPD-ESC said.

The UPD education department has a special education program that advocates an inclusive society for students with special needs in the country.

Uson and Olivar’s actions in the video are “blatantly disrespectful” and an “outright form of discrimination” of the deaf community, the group said.

“It is not in any way acceptable for anyone, regardless of his/her position in the society, to imitate or to use the language for fun/entertainment as it is blatantly disrespectful and is an outright form of discrimination to the culture and to the members of the Deaf community,” they added.

It’s been a month since Uson and Olivar caused an outrage over another video showing Olivar’s vulgar “i-pederalismo” dance, which was shot inside Malacañang during office hours.

To address the heavy criticisms directed at both Uson and the presidential communications agency, a memo was issued that time without naming Uson or Olivar.

It reminded its officials and employees of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.

Sign language and the deaf community 

The sign language is the basic human right of deaf people as declared by the United Nations.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stated that the freedom to use the sign language, along with other means of communication, is the right of persons with disabilities “on an equal basis with others.”

State parties, including the Philippines, are required to take measures to recognize and promote the freedom to use the sign language, in all its variations, based on article 42 of the convention.

The goal of inclusion or equality with the persons with disabilities is further fostered with the declaration of September 23 as the International Day of Sign Languages.

What the law says in the Philippines

There’s still no official legislation that enacts the official sign language of Filipinos with speaking impairment.

As of writing, the Filipino Sign Language Act is yet to be signed into law and is still known as Senate Bill No. 1455.

The overall rights of Filipinos with disabilities, meanwhile, is provided and protected by virtue of Republic Act No. 7277 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, which honors the principle that these Filipinos are also part of the Philippine society.

In particular, Rule V of its amended version, Republic Act No. 9442, stated that “imitating a person with disability in public gatherings, stage shows, carnivals, television shows, broadcast media and other forms of entertainments” constitutes as public ridicule, which is a prohibited act.

Violators of the provisions of this law shall face penalties of at least P50,000 or imprisonment of at least six months. This would be up to the discretion of the court.

The new recording, which gathered fresh outrage, was also shared on the Mocha Uson blog, but not part of its regular online game show.

Amid the sea of criticisms, one Facebook user shared that Olivar placed a lengthy apology in the comments section, but had since deleted it.

Posted by Riz Gonzales on Saturday, September 15, 2018