MANILA, Philippines – Senator Nancy Binay on Monday, September 17, chided Palace Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar for mocking the sign language, saying it is against the law.
“Hindi nakakatuwa ang huling video ni Asec. Mocha Uson at Drew Olivar. (The latest video of Asec. Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar is not funny.) It is disrespectful to the sizeable deaf/mute community who already struggle in airing their concerns and aspirations,” Binay said in a statement.
“I wish to remind Asec. Mocha that as a public official, it is paramount that she refrain from mocking the people she serves. And just so the others also become more aware, making fun of persons with disabilities is in violation of the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons or Republic Act 9442. Again, sign language should never be made an amusement piece,” Binay said.
Uson last week shared a video on her Facebook account which shows Olivar mimicking the sign language and making sounds as if imitating the deaf. Uson could be heard laughing in the background. (WATCH: Deaf employee reacts to Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar’s lewd sign language video)
RA 9442 prohibits verbal and non-verbal ridicule, as well as vilification of disabled people.
First-time violators would be fined at least P50,000 to P100,000 or be imprisoned for at least 6 months to two years, or both depending on the court.
Binay, author and co-sponsor of the Filipino Sign Language Bill that recently passed in the Senate, also said Uson's and Olivar’s actions “set back efforts to make society more inclusive."
She reminded Uson that "as a public official, it is paramount that she refrain from mocking the people she serves."
This is not the first time that Uson and Olivar got entangled in a controversy. The two drew flak for their lewd federalism jingle and dance, which caught the ire of lawmakers and even allies of President Rodrigo Duterte. – Rappler.com
Camille Elemia is Rappler's lead reporter for media, disinformation, and democracy. She won an ILO award in 2017. She received the prestigious Fulbright-Hubert Humphrey fellowship in 2019, allowing her to further study media and politics in the US. Email email@example.com