At last, a National SL Interpeters group will soon rise!

Wow! This is exciting! Sign language interpreters have bonded together and will now be one step closer in forming a national organization. This is truly a dream come true!

PAIDE's Jun Celada and CAP's May Andrada
PAIDE's Jun Celada and CAP's May Andrada

Nearly fifty hearing interpreters as well as deaf clients and relay interpreters trooped to the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) Office last January 21 to participate in the discussions and deliberations on how to establish a national body that will care for the needs and professionalizing sign language interpreters. Seeing all the seasoned and very dedicated interpreters come together under one roof is really a great sight to behold. ๐Ÿ™‚

For the first time, the two well-organized interpreters association; the pioneer Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRID) and the equally dedicated Philippine Association of Interpreters for Deaf Empowerment (PAIDE), participated in this gathering. PAIDE President Alfredo “Jun” Celada Jr. was there to organize and facilitate the discussions while PRID volunteer Ma’am Beth Go gave her full support.

Prominent schools for the deaf were also very much represented because their top honchos attended. This is also the first time after nearly a decade where major college for the deaf in Metro Manila were together. Aside from yours truly and Sir Ervin Reyes representing MCCID, DLS-CSB‘s Dean Techie Dela Torre and Nicky Templo-Perez with Ms. Tess Buenaventura and Ms. Febe Sevilla, CAP College’s Ma’am May Andrada and Sir Julius Andrada and MC-SAID’s Ma’am Carol Ui were all there. Philippine Deaf Resource Center’s Dr. Lisa Martinez was also there and gave her very tangible suggestions and so with UP College of Education and my best buddy Dr. Therese Bustos. ๐Ÿ™‚

My former boss Ms. Joy Cristal was the documentor while former MCCID faculty and now a public school teacher Jay Lardizabal was the sign language interpreter aside from Ma’am May Andrada. There were also some from the deaf community who showed their support headed by Philippine Federation of the Deaf President Raquel Estiller-Corpuz and Raffy Domingo.

Connecting the provinces through Skype
Connecting the provinces through Skype

Even people from the provinces were not left out, at least in Davao City, where PDRC’s Naty Natividad and six of her colleagues participated through Skype. I volunteered to use my MacBook in order to video conference with them. The video relay was unreliable so voice call and chat was utilized.

Interpreters all!

What made this occasion truly memorable to me is that I was able to meet my long time friends and colleagues in the ministry of interpreting for the deaf. I saw my former PRID classmate Cris Gaytos, my former SL teacher Ma’am Annie Blanca who is now holding a high position in the Department of Education, my idol in assisting abused deaf children Ma’am Liway Caldito and of course, my first sign language teacher who really pushed me into plunging into this wonderful world of the deaf, Ma’am Sonia Lodado.

Tagaytay Brainstormers
Tagaytay Brainstormers

To give you a brief backgrounder, this gathering came about during the 22nd World Federation of the Deaf Regional Secretariat for Asia-Pacific Conference held last November 2010 where the World Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) group had a meeting. WASLI officials encouraged the Philippine delegation to organize a national body that will represent the country in an international forum and also to professionalize the SL interpreting career. PAIDE’s Jun Celada and Michael Potian, CAP’s May Andrada, PDRC’s Naty Natividad NCDA’s Ruth Tacujan and myself had a brainstorming and came up with a decision of holding a general assembly to discuss how to organize a national group in order to strengthen and protect the interpreting profession.

Sl interpreting has been in existence in the Philippines since Philippine School for the Deaf was established in 1907. But until now, no group has ever been formed to promote the welfare and professionalize the interpreting career. There are extremely few full time interpreters around because most of us have other work either as teachers or school administrators.

I won’t be mentioning in detail what has transpired during the January 21 meeting. But what I can say is that this is only the beginning of a very bright future. Small core groups were formed and they will tentatively meet at the College of St. Benilde next February 4. ๐Ÿ™‚

“Deaf” or “Hearing Impaired”?

I was very blessed this January for having travelled to different places in the country that I have never been in my entire life. And those places are not just places, but “the places” to be during this time of the year. Imagine going to Kalibo, Aklan to celebrate the “Ati Atihan” street festival and in Iloilo City for their “Dinagyang” festival. To top it off, we went to the world famous white-sand beach of “Boracay“! ๐Ÿ™‚

All of these great trips weren’t possible if not for the invitation from Liliane Foundation Philippines. We had our first taste of the new system that they will be implementing for all of their partner-organizations. They had their opening salvo for the Visayas mediators and organizations that serve persons with disabilities.

Liliane Foundation Philippines
Liliane Foundation Philippines

During the group discussions, most of the members label their clients as visually impaired, orthopedically impaired or ortho, autistic, mentally impaired and hearing impaired. Probably that is what they were brought up to tag the children they assist. When one of the participants from West Visayas requested me to assist their “Hearing Impaired” constituents for their IT training, I can’t help but feel surprised that they still call them as such.

Sir Ervin explains about deaf and MCCID.
The same thing happened during the interview in one of the daytime TV programs here in Manila last Monday.* ย The first question asked by the host was, “How do we call you, deaf or hearing impaired?” Luckily, they invited prominent deaf people like Indie Film Actor Romalito Mallari and IT Expert Ervin Reyes. They both replied that they are more comfortable being called Deaf.

Now, how do we really call them, Deaf or Hearing Impaired?

I tried to google to get the answer. I got quite a few hits and video blogs like Jackseyes and DSQ89. Often they combine or interchange the two words. So I wasn’t able to get the right answer.

Although each country has its own legislations and policies regarding persons with disabilities, we must consider getting the answer from an accepted international treaty, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (UN-CRPD). This law was ratified by the Philippines in 2008. Policies, future laws and bills that are filed must be anchored from the UN-CRPD which is fundamentally the rights based approached.

If you scan UN-CRPD, it never mentioned the word “Hearing Impaired”. It used sensory impairments in Article 1.ย Sign language and interpreter words appeared in Article 2, Article 9, Article 21 which seek to promote it.ย Article 30 also included the respect of deaf culture. Deaf, deaf community and deaf/blind was mentioned in Article 24 thrice.

Article 24 – Education explicitly states that:

b) Facilitating the learning of sign language and the promotion of the linguistic identity of the deaf community;

Based on these, I can safely say that the the word DEAF is the politically correct and rights based approach in calling them. Besides, “hearing impaired” focused on the impairment while “Deaf” focused on the person. ๐Ÿ™‚

* – “Full Time Moms”, hosted by Suzie Abrera and Regine Tolentino aired at QTV-11

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how my blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 56,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 7 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 233 posts. There were 30 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 2mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 19th with 568 views. The most popular post that day was Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, Famous Disabled Filipino.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, deafread.com, usaerklaert.wordpress.com, en.wordpress.com, and search.conduit.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for marlee matlin, dinig sana kita, facebook login page, filipino sign language, and heather whitestone.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Isabela Governor Grace Padaca, Famous Disabled Filipino December 2008
8 comments

2

Spider-Man with I-Love-You Sign September 2008
8 comments

3

Deaf education in the Philippines, my retrospect November 2008
32 comments

4

“Dinig Sana Kita” (If I knew what you said) Trailer May 2009
29 comments

5

Download Filipino Sign Language Font for FREE May 2010
8 comments