Commission on Human Rights chairperson Chito Gascon on Wednesday took a swipe at Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar for mocking the deaf community and the Filipino sign language.
The Philippine Federation of the Deaf filed a complaint against the duo, prompting the CHR to initiate an investigation.
“The controversial video making fun of the sign language used by deaf people is utterly appalling and unacceptable especially that it involves a government official and a blogger affiliated to a government office,” CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia said in a statement.
“Such behavior is extremely degrading, derogatory, and further perpetuates discrimination of the vulnerable deaf people,” it added.
De Guia said sign language is “fundamental human right” of the deaf community and is part of its “higher right to self-determination.
“Making a mockery of this right is an attack on their dignity and makes them even more vulnerable in our society where only a few understand their mode of communication,” the CHR said.
Despite an apology from Uson and Olivar, the commission said “we welcome the public apology the duo recently issued. However, for an apology to be genuine, it must be coupled with a full sense of accountability, concrete actions to rectify the wrong done, and future actions should manifest efforts to protect and promote the welfare and dignity of the PWDs (persons with disabilities),” it explained.
On Sept. 4, in a video, Uson asked Olivar to do a sign language and he proceeded to make fun of it.
On the other hand, the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde called on the government to “take action” against Uson and Olivar for mocking the deaf community and Filipino sign language.
“We call on the government to take action against Mr. Olivar and Asec Uson, and impose appropriate penalties as provided by law,” its letter read.
DLS-CSB president Brother Dennis Magbanua said Uson’s actions were “unbecoming of a government official,” and that she, along with Olivar, must be held accountable.