Introducing www.deaf.ph

deafdotph website cover
deafdotph website cover

We all experienced that the Internet empowers people. And using the web to champion a good cause gives it a better chance to succeed. Since I am always in support of improving the lives of the Filipino Deaf through technology, I value people and groups who use IT and social media to promote their advocacy. Presenting….

www.deaf.ph 🙂

According to their site,

We are an online local community advocation. goal Our goal to teach “Filipino Sign Language Online”, and we’re on our way. We promote “Deaf Community Empowerment” that value people with hearing disability, and committed to building an all-star, DEAF.PH TEAM.

Their first activity will be a Meet Up at the “Enchanted Kingdom” Theme Park in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Dubbed, DEAFinitely Fabulous, the event will be on October 27, Saturday. Meeting place will be at Macdonalds Gateway, Cubao starting at 7am. For more information, you may contact:

Mark Joseph Quijano – DeafPH President at these numbers:09216635519 [SMART] and 09358981963 [GLOBE]

Let us support this website. Their community is still very new. But their future is very promising. Aside from offering Filipino Sign Language Online Courses, they will soon provide links and billboard postings about about job opportunities for the deaf, meetings, special announcements, laws, deaf success stories and many more exciting things. True to their cause, the group aims for awareness, appreciation and action.


Their slogan?

We are just getting started. COME, LEARN, EXPERIENCE & HAVE FUN!

Come and join this wonderful community and make yourselves DEAFinitely Fabulous! 🙂

MCCID College offers scholarship grants this second semester

MCCID College  Students in San Mateo, RizalGood news! A group of employees from the biggest universal bank in the Philippines is willing to sponsor a group of deaf individuals to enroll this second semester. They requested MCCID not to reveal the name of their group nor the company they work for.

The group will support the full scholarship grant of deaf students for the whole three year duration of the course. The prospective applicants must comply with the following requirements:

  1. Must be a deaf high school graduate
  2. Must enroll this second semester – school year 2012-2013
  3. Must be a NEW student, old students or students who resigned are not allowed
  4. Must pass the qualifying examination scheduled on October 30
  5. Students can choose to enroll in either of the two diploma courses offered by MCCID

Scholarship examination on October 30 will be held at MCCID College in San Mateo, Rizal. The grant is only applicable this second semester. For more details please call +632468-8079 or cell phone number +639204656138.

MCCID College of Technology, Inc.
MCCID College of Technology, Inc. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MCCID College is one of the top schools offering post-secondary programs for the deaf. It is the only school which offers sign language program that is authorized by the Philippine government. It is arguably the best computer school for the deaf in the country especially in terms of web designing, graphic designing and data operations. It has produced more than 300 graduates since it started its operation in 1993. Most of them are gainfully employed in top government and private firms. It has also won numerous awards and recognition both locally and internationally. Please view our Wikipedia article or our official website (www.mccid.edu.ph) to know more about us.

Please go to this link for directions to go to our place.

The Signs of Change Learning Center

Bags sold by AADTo my avid blog readers, may I invite you to visit the website of Albay Association of the Deaf – The Signs of Change Learning Center? Here is their official website: http://signsofchangelearningcenter.weebly.com/index.html

Albay is a province south of Metro Manila. It is home to the famous Mayon Volcano. Their organization offers basic literacy using Filipino Sign Language, numeracy and life skills to Deaf Bicolanos particularly those from poor families who cannot afford center-based schooling. Their website also displays high quality handmade bags and necklace that are sold through online orders or in their center. Part of the sale will go to support the needs of the association.

Here is their welcome message:

The Signs of Change Learning Center operates under the Albay Association of the Deaf, Inc. We are dedicated to helping linguistically isolated and out-of-school deaf children gain an accessible education. At our learning center, classes are offered for free and the students are taught by experienced Deaf teachers in Filipino Sign Language and written English.

My friend from Philippine National Association of Interpreters for the Deaf (PNASLI) Ms. Vanessa Urbantke requested me to provide traffic to their site. What better way to do it than to blog about it. Please help their cause by supporting their programs, products and services. 🙂

Deaf children prone to sexual abuse, says NGO

This is a repost from Abs-cbn News website.

CEBU CITY—A nongovernmental organization working to prevent sexual abuse among Deaf children has recorded six cases of rape in June, the highest incidence on a per-month basis since it started documenting the problem last year.

But catching the perpetrators and filing cases against them in court is difficult because law enforcers and prosecutors could not communicate with victims, some of whom are unaware that what happened to them was rape.

The Cebu-based Gualandi Volunteer Service Program (GVSP) has been documenting and assisting in the filing of cases related to the sexual abuse of Deaf children as part of “Break the Silence” (BTS), a project the group launched in January 2011 after it discovered high instances of sexual abuse among people with hearing disabilities.

Of the six rape cases reported in June, suspects in only three cases have been charged in court, said GVSP program manager John Paul Maunes.

Since the launching of BTS, GVSP has intervened in at least 20 cases of sexual abuse against the Deaf, with 10 cases already filed in court.

Maunes said rape was the most common abuse among female victims and sexual advances by gays among male victims.

GVSP has adopted the vision of a “Deaf-inclusive Filipino society” through the volunteering program of the Gualandi Mission for the Deaf. It is part of the BTS network started by the Stairway Foundation that advocates children’s rights.

A nationwide survey by the Philippine Deaf Resource Center (PDRC) in 2005 found that 65 to 70 percent of Deaf boys and girls are being molested. Of the 60 Deaf respondents in Manila and Cebu, one of three women has been raped.

Maunes said, however, the number of Deaf persons being abused could be higher than what the study pointed out. He said most of the victims did not know that they were already being abused until family members discovered the incidents.

One victim, for example, did not know she had been raped until she complained of stomachache and the doctor found out that she was six months pregnant.

GVSP, which has held sexual assault prevention seminars in Central Visayas, also found that many Deaf individuals would only realize that they had been sexually violated when they attended the seminar.

In one seminar, a Deaf boy told Maunes that he did not know that the act of a gay man who paid to fondle his (the child’s) sex organ already constituted sexual abuse.

In the case of rape victims, majority of them were never educated and cannot communicate using the standard sign languages taught in schools for the Deaf, Maunes said. Most of them could not even relate what happened and do not know how to affix their signatures on complaint sheets.

Before the GVSP project started, most of the sexual abuse cases against the Deaf were not addressed or ended up in settlement because government lacks experts to handle the cases, including police investigators who can communicate with the victims or families lost interest in pursuing the case, Maunes said.

Cebu is a case in point. SPO1 Bell Felisan of the Cebu City Police Office (CCPO) children’s welfare desk admitted that they really have a hard time investigating if one of the parties involved is deaf. She cited one case where both the victim and the alleged perpetrator were both deaf, but no one among the police knew sign language.

This is also one of the issues raised by the PDRC study. The others are:

  1. When the Deaf is arrested and there is no interpreter, the Deaf does not know why he is being arrested or what he is being accused of.
  2. No interpreter is provided for the Deaf who is accused and imprisoned while the case is pending.
  3. Deaf girls who are raped, and their parents, decide not to file the case but just settle amicably (accept money or payment). This happens mostly in preliminary investigations when there is no interpreter.
  4. The Deaf is made to sign affidavits drawn up by the police. Affidavits are usually written in either Filipino, Bisaya or in English, and the Deaf don’t understand what is written. Most of the time there is no interpreter to explain the affidavit to the Deaf.
  5. Deaf victims have interpreters who cannot sign well or cannot sign at all. Some interpreters do not possess adequate skills to interpret for a court hearing.
  6. Both Hearing and Deaf interpreters grapple with the legal jargon.
  7. Male interpreters harass deaf rape victims. Some interpreters intimidate female offended parties during the court hearing.
  8. Inappropriate appointment of male interpreters for female victims of rape and sexual violence.
  9. Many deaf complainants and accused are poor and uneducated. There is a need for Deaf relay interpreters and a hearing interpreter, for unschooled or linguistically-isolated deaf parties.
  10. Because the courts (judge, lawyers) do not know about Supreme Court Memorandum Order 59-2004 and the Office of the Court Administrator Circular No. 104-2007, the court asks the deaf to look for, and pay for, their own interpreter.

The Supreme Court memorandum authorizes the Court Administrator to act on requests of trial court judges to hire the services of sign language interpreters in cases where they are needed. The court is mandated to pay for the interpreters.

The memorandum from the Office of the Court Administrator lays down the guidelines to be followed on the payment of the services of a hired sign language interpreter.

For their part, Felisan said police officers have started training in sign language.

Maunes said social and cultural factors contribute to why most Deaf people do not know that they are already being sexually accosted. He said family members usually do not pay serious attention to problems brought by a Deaf member because of the latter’s disability.

Because they were mostly neglected, the Deaf could not tell that sexual abuses are already being committed against them, he said.
In rural areas, families presume Deaf members could not be productive in society and would not prioritize their education, Maunes added.

Fr. Peter Miles Sollesta, GVSP president, said there are people who take advantage of the disabilities of others, which is why they are advocating training the Deaf on how to protect themselves.

Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Bill Tweddell said in a speech before Deaf students from different schools in Cebu on July 3 that GVSP’s project practically gives voice to the Deaf. The Australian government is supporting the project.

(This story is part of Reporting on Persons With Disability, a project of VERA Files in partnership with The Asia Foundation and AusAid. VERA Files is put out by senior journalists taking a deeper look at current issues. VERA is Latin for true.)

International Deaf Day Celebration for Northern Philippines

International Deaf Day Poster

Newly government recognized Tarlac Province Association of the Deaf together with La Union Association of the Deaf, Deaf Association of Pines City, Ilocos Norte Association of the Deaf and La Trinidad Association of the Deaf will be holding their first ever “International Deaf Day Celebration” on September 12. Parade starts at 8 am at Prazuela, Tarlac City.

With the theme “Sign Bilingualism is a Human Rights”, fun, games and advocacy programs are some of the activities that will be held. For more information, please text Vincent Ramos at +639469267227.