Here in the Philippines, we have Republic Act No. 9442, otherwise known as the “Magna Carta for Persons with Disability.” Section 7, Chapter 1 defines public ridicule as “an act of making or contemptuous imitating or making mockery of persons with disability whether in writing, or in words, or in action due to their impairment/s.” This involves imitating a PWD in television shows, broadcast media, and other forms of entertainments” that offend their rights and dignity—which is what people are citing in regards to what Mocha and Drew did.
Huffington Post also reported in 2015 (and updated in 2017) that there are cases of deaf people dying in the hospital because they weren’t given proper medical help due to the language barrier. A deaf student was also denied access to medical school “because the institution doesn’t feel like fulfilling their legal obligation to provide an interpreter.”
What Mocha and Drew did, which may have been intended for comedy just like their “Pepedederalismo” video, is insensitive and promotes mockery of the deaf community. This is especially important to talk since the Filipino Sign Language (FSL) Bill just passed the final reading in the Senate. Co-author of the bill, Sen. Nancy Binay, said that passing this into law would “recognize and promote the use of sign languages embodying the specific cultural linguistic identity of the Filipino deaf.”
Earlier today, Binay also released a statement denouncing Mocha’s actions. “Such discriminatory actions set back our efforts to make our society more inclusive by providing a more conducive environment for deaf Filipinos to exercise their right to expression without prejudice.” She also reminded Mocha that she is a public official (lest you forgot, she works for the PCOO as assistant secretary) so “it is paramount that she refrain from mocking the people she serves.”
Sen @SenatorBinay on Asec Uson’s latest vlog: … making fun of persons with disabilities is in violation of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons (Republic Act (RA) 9442). Again, sign language should never be made an amusement piece. @dzbbpic.twitter.com/K6nY05L1wm
If Mocha and/or Drew decide to deny the accusations and tell the citizens (again) they’re being “malicious,” allow us to remind them of the penalties for violating RA. 9442: For the first violation, they can be fined not less than P100,000, but not exceeding P200,000, or they can also be imprisoned for two to six years. Both penalties can be enacted with the court’s discretion. These are the same terms for subsequent violations.
Everything clear now?
Art by Marian Hukom
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