Deaf people generally have less access to communicate, to hear and share information to others but being deaf or person with disability is not bad. They face many serious problems such as bullying, anxiety, language difficulties, misunderstanding, and low self-esteem. In fact, they should treat them just like any social group of people. Compared to other people, deaf won’t be able to do things but with the help of sign language, they can now express their own thoughts, opinions, personal beliefs or their selves. Sign language is a manual communication using gestures, signs or facial expressions. Sign language has a big impact for deaf communities because through the help of it, they can communicate and understand each other, express themselves and unite them.
Based on the 2010 census, 1,443 thousand persons or 1.57 percent had disability, and with that Philippine Statistics Office (PSA) conducted that there are approximately 121,000 deaf people living in the Philippines and 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss. According to research, most of them were born deaf and the rest became deaf at the age of three, most of deaf students stops at the secondary level of school because of the lack support systems.
The formerly known as the School for the deaf and blind, the Philippine School for the Deaf is the founder school for the disabled persons in the country most especially in Asia. It is the only government owned establishment for the deaf in the Philippines.
The program started with a class of three pupils from the provinces with one blind and two deaf in a home in Ermita, Manila when Dr. David P. Barrows (Director of Education in the Philippines) started the program in 1907 and invited Miss Delia Delight Rice of Columbus, Ohio to our country, a teacher of the deaf and daughter of deaf parents.
Meanwhile, a number of buildings have been built for the different educational program and facilities provided for the needs of the hearing impaired. The school itself have a basic technology like various assistive listening devices and other aids for the needs of children with hearing impairments.
The school provides the Modified Basic Education Curriculum in the elementary and secondary levels with special subjects as Speech Reading, Speech, Rhythm and Auditory Training, Language, and have a bigger time allotment for Communication Arts and the Introduction of Filipino in Grade 3. The school uses the English as the language of education and Simultaneous Communication as its way of teaching while contributing to the Philosophy of Total Communication. It has a six-hundred thirthy-four (634) students and a staff of ninety-three (93) teaching, thirty-eight (38) non-teaching employees with an the Assistant Special Schools Principal and a Special Schools Principal under the supervision of the City Schools Division Superintendent, Pasay City. Department of Education-National Capital Region.
Majority of the deaf people have more knowledge in English sign Language than Filipino, sixty three percent of them are writing in English while 16 percent only can write in Filipino. It is conducted that all special education centers in the Philippines use English as a medium of instruction especially in the written form.
After this the House Committee on Social Services chaired by Rep. Sandra Eriguel, M.D. has agreed a substitute bill that seeks to declare the Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language of the deaf Filipinos and the official sign language of government to interact with the deaf persons, requiring, promoted and supported its use in schools and in broadcast media, other workplaces and so forth. The bill titled “The Filipino Sign Language Act” substituted House Bill 2094 authored by ACT teachers Party-list Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro. The bill requires the pre in-service training and evaluation of their teachers.
The bill orders the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, in coordination with the DepEd Secretary, CHED Chairperson, TESDA Director-General, PRC Chairperson, The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, The Secretary of Justice and the heads of other related agencies, and in consultation with representatives of the deaf community, teachers with knowledge and experience with the use of FSL in deaf communication.
On the other hand, this bill must be implemented for the deaf person to have more knowledge on the Filipino Sign Language and for them to communicate with us well and easily. It is an opportunity for the better accessibility of the deaf. With the help of this Filipino Sign Language developments in deaf language, deaf people can communicate with more ease and express their viewpoint comfortably.