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Repost: From Ms. Techie Benitez-Dela Torre's speech
There are some deaf Pinoy who use signed English or S.E.E as their primary language. There are other Deaf people who sign using Filipino Sign Language (FSL). Since long ago, SEE is used in education to teach deaf kids speak, read, write English. Hearing teachers focus only to teach Deaf kids to speak, read, write English. Did the Deaf fully learn and develop as a person? Did they develop the needed competencies they need for higher education? Did they have greater opportunities for employment?
Those Deaf children are now Deaf adults. They are asking that Filipino Sign Language, their OWN NATURAL LANGUAGE be used NOW in education. NOT signed English. But hearing teachers and decision makers still insist signed English should be used in the education of Deaf children. Deaf Filipino want FSL, hearing Filipino and few deaf want SEE.
Which has more value? English or Filipino? Who has more right to find ways to help deaf children to have better future? Deaf people or hearing people?
Deaf people want to learn how to write and read English, but they want to learn it in the context of their Deaf experience, using their Filipino Sign Language as primary language to communicate and learn in the classroom and everywhere else. Using FSL in education will make real learning accessible. Deaf students will learn more meaningfully. Deaf will have greater access not only to words and spellings, but access to a learning environment enriched because their OWN language is used and therefore greater opportunity to develop fully their brain potentials and competencies. Something many of the Deaf adults have been denied in the education they received as children because signed English and English alone was given importance by the system and by their teachers.
FSL Bill supports Deaf people. It recognizes importance of learning using their own natural language. Hearing people and some deaf people who love SEE don’t want FSL Bill, they say Deaf people will not learn English.
Deaf people who support FSL Bill are advocates of Deaf people’s rights, they are representatives of Deaf organizations who are involved in UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. They are Deaf people who are helping Deaf children and other Deaf people who are isolated and discriminated by people who don’t believe in Deaf rights and by the system that only recognize hearing people’s rights.
Who should we support? Deaf people who represents the Deaf community and are fighting for Deaf rights? Or hearing people and some deaf people who just don’t like FSL to be used in education??
We all want to learn something we fully understand, and we learn because we understand. We want that for ourselves. Why should we deny Deaf people that same right? Why should we deny them their right to protect the Deaf children who will go through the kind of education system they went through? Just like anyone, we want our children to have a better future. They want the same for Deaf children. Why should hearing people deny them that right????
FSL Bill must be passed!!! Let us support Deaf Filipinos’ right to their own language!!!