MANILA – In a move to create more inclusive communities for persons with disabilities (PWDs), Barangay San Antonio, Pasig on Friday inked a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with a non-profit non-government organization teaching sign language to give them full access of communication.
Barangay Chairman Raymond Lising and Pia Anne Gonzales-Jacinto, representative of DEAFED Training and Assessment Center, signed the MOA seeking to empower the barangay to have programs, projects and activities posted and delivered through social media so that PWDs will also be able to access and understand them.
Sign language, Lising said, is a vital communication tool for many deaf and hard-of-hearing people.
Lising said part of the deal is for DEAFED to provide sign language inset on the Weekly Kapitan’s Report, which is regularly being posted on Facebook, for PWDs.
He said the group will also hold trainings to barangay employees for them to learn sign language.
If there is a disaster or calamity, Lising said that they will tap the group to help communicate their conditions and needs.
According to him, this is in accordance with the Republic Act 11106 or The Filipino Sign Language Act which is incompliance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of PWDs.
“Our barangay constituents, especially those who do not have the financial ability to study sign language, may go here at the barangay hall to learn sign language. We, the DEAFED and the barangay, are here to destroy the language barriers for our PWD constituents,” he said.
Barangay San Antonio, Pasig is the first barangay to implement the program in the city.
Data showed the village alone has more than 200 PWDs – 23 of them minors, 166 adults and 11 senior citizens.
Lising said it is important to make their barangay a more inclusive one so that PWDs will not feel like outcasts.
Jacinto said it is very important for the people who have hearing and speech impairment to learn sign language to help them communicate effectively, have accessibility and inclusion.
“Mahal po talaga ang mag-aral nito kaya hindi ma-afford especially po ang mahihirap nating mg kababayan. Ang maganda kasi sa (It’s expensive that why our poor countrymen, especially the impoverished ones, cannot afford it. Fortunately, in DEAFED) is that we sponsor free basic trainings ng sign language),” Jacinto explained.
She said that there are 19 million hearing-impaired people in the country. The DEAFED representative said the law requires to have an interpreter if there is one deaf person in an area.
Meanwhile, Lising said the first barangay employee that will study sign language in their village is Lorielyn Tugado, the department team leader of Violence Against Women and Children (VAWC) in San Antonio, Pasig
“Maganda rin na at the same time na nasa VAWC siya, para makapagbigay siya ng boses sa mga inaabusong PWDs, (It’s good since she is with our VAWC, she can give voice to PWDs who may suffer abuse,” Lising said.
He went on to urge business establishments in Barangay San Antonio, especially the Ortigas Business District under his turf, to hire more PWDs in order to give them equal opportunities. (PR)