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Filipino Autism Advocate Awarded First ASEAN Prize

November 15, 2018

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 14) — A Filipina was awarded the first ever ASEAN Prize Tuesday for her work in improving the lives of people with autism.

Erlinda Uy Koe received the award from Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in Singapore during the opening ceremonies of the 33rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit.

Koe is the former chairperson of the ASEAN Autism Network and Chair Emeritus of the Autism Society Philippines (ASP).

She received a trophy as well as a $20,000 cash prize.

A statement from Koe posted on APS’s Facebook page said, “This is a welcome blessing. For the inaugural ASEAN Prize to be awarded to a family autism advocacy shows how far the ASEAN Community has embraced inclusion for persons with autism and other special needs. I pray that this recognition will help organizations like the ASP and other members of ASEAN Autism Network to connect with policy makers and push for institutional mechanisms that will help improve the lives of those living in the autism spectrum.”

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ASEAN lauded Koe for her “leadership and tireless efforts in contributing to an inclusive and people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community.”

Malacañang also extended its congratulations.

“The Palace wishes to congratulate Ms. Erlinda Uy Koe of the ASEAN Society Philippines and the ASEAN Autism Network (AAN) for winning the ASEAN Prize 2018 and bringing tremendous pride and great honor to the country,” said Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo.

The ASEAN Prize “is to recognise inspiring achievements and inspiring contributions of an individual or organization, inter alia, to the building of a rules-based, people-oriented, people-centred ASEAN Community, and intra ASEAN collaborative efforts”according to the ASEAN website.

Source: http://cnnphilippines.com/news

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Filipino Sign Language Declared National Sign Language of Deaf Filipinos

November 12, 2018

Our Deaf friend’s fight for the recognition of FSL has finally won! The long wait is over. The law declaring FSL as Deaf Filipinos’ national sign language has been signed by President Rodrigo Duterte. In looking back, I see myself since 2007 working to make films that give access to Deaf Filipinos having learnt the lack, if not, absence of captions and FSL interpretations in the materials they use. Incorporating and using FSL as my means to provide them the information that are of interest not just to hearing people but to them as well has become my personal advocacy ever since. Promoting FSL in my films and showing the talents of Deaf individuals has always been characteristics of my films. I also work with and for them. In fact, just last Friday, November 9, I handled a video production workshop for them at DLS-CSB School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies [SDEAS]. (Photo below)

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Workshop with Deaf Students of SDEAS where I studied Filipino SIgn Language in 2006-2007 held at PEN Lab

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Deaf students looking at the structural study / timeline of “Silent Odyssey,” my docu-feature on Deaf Filipinos and the origin of FSL made in 2008

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Looking forward, many great tasks ahead are in store for the Deaf sector who now has to work harder to monitor and make sure that the mandate to use FSL in all transactions involving Deaf is implemented. The law takes effect 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette. Below is a report by Virgil Lopez of GMA News released just a few hours ago.

President Rodrigo Duterte has signed into law the measure declaring Filipino Sign Language (FSL) the national sign language of the Filipino Deaf and mandating the use of the same in all government transactions involving them.

Duterte approved Republic Act 11106 on October 30, a copy of which was released to the media on Monday.

The law mandates the use of the FSL in schools, hearings and transactions in courts and other tribunals, government workplaces and broadcast media.

Tasked to use and coordinate with each other on the use of FSL as the medium of instruction in deaf education are the Department of Education (DepEd), Commission on Higher Education (CHEd), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), and all other national and local government agencies involved in the education of the deaf.

The University of the Philippines (UP), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics, and linguistics researchers, CHEd and DepEd, and the Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) Council, shall develop guidelines for the development of training materials in the education of the deaf for use by all state universities and colleges (SUCs), as well as their teachers and staff.

It also directs the KWF and SUCs led by UP to undertake continuing research for the development, propagation and preservation of FSL and its cultural history. Concerned government agencies, DepEd, CHEd and UP shall also take appropriate steps to make FSL as an elective subject in the curriculum, particularly of SUCs.

The law mandates KWF, in consultation with the deaf community and other stakeholders, to establish a national system of standards, accreditation and procedures for FSL interpretation.

“This shall include policies on the practice of interpreting as a profession such as compensation rates and benefits, working conditions, procedures for grievances and others,” it said.

The University of the Philippines (UP), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics, and linguistics researchers, CHEd and DepEd, and the Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) Council, shall develop guidelines for the development of training materials in the education of the deaf for use by all state universities and colleges (SUCs), as well as their teachers and staff.

It also directs the KWF and SUCs led by UP to undertake continuing research for the development, propagation and preservation of FSL and its cultural history. Concerned government agencies, DepEd, CHEd and UP shall also take appropriate steps to make FSL as an elective subject in the curriculum, particularly of SUCs.

The law mandates KWF, in consultation with the deaf community and other stakeholders, to establish a national system of standards, accreditation and procedures for FSL interpretation.

“This shall include policies on the practice of interpreting as a profession such as compensation rates and benefits, working conditions, procedures for grievances and others,” it said.

The University of the Philippines (UP), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics, and linguistics researchers, CHEd and DepEd, and the Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) Council, shall develop guidelines for the development of training materials in the education of the deaf for use by all state universities and colleges (SUCs), as well as their teachers and staff.

It also directs the KWF and SUCs led by UP to undertake continuing research for the development, propagation and preservation of FSL and its cultural history. Concerned government agencies, DepEd, CHEd and UP shall also take appropriate steps to make FSL as an elective subject in the curriculum, particularly of SUCs.

The law mandates KWF, in consultation with the deaf community and other stakeholders, to establish a national system of standards, accreditation and procedures for FSL interpretation.

“This shall include policies on the practice of interpreting as a profession such as compensation rates and benefits, working conditions, procedures for grievances and others,” it said.

The University of the Philippines (UP), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics, and linguistics researchers, CHEd and DepEd, and the Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) Council, shall develop guidelines for the development of training materials in the education of the deaf for use by all state universities and colleges (SUCs), as well as their teachers and staff.

The University of the Philippines (UP), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), professional sign linguistics, and linguistics researchers, CHEd and DepEd, and the Early Childhood Care Development (ECCD) Council, shall develop guidelines for the development of training materials in the education of the deaf for use by all state universities and colleges (SUCs), as well as their teachers and staff.

It also directs the KWF and SUCs led by UP to undertake continuing research for the development, propagation and preservation of FSL and its cultural history. Concerned government agencies, DepEd, CHEd and UP shall also take appropriate steps to make FSL as an elective subject in the curriculum, particularly of SUCs.

The law mandates KWF, in consultation with the deaf community and other stakeholders, to establish a national system of standards, accreditation and procedures for FSL interpretation.

“This shall include policies on the practice of interpreting as a profession such as compensation rates and benefits, working conditions, procedures for grievances and others,” it said.

Within one year from the law’s effective date, the law states the broadcast media must already have FSL interpreter insets, compliant with accessibility standards for television, in news and public affairs programs.

It also orders government hospitals and health facilities to take steps to ensure access to the Filipino deaf to health services, including FSL interpreters and accessible materials upon request of deaf patients, or individuals who have family members who are deaf.

“As part of their corporate social responsibility, private health facilities are encouraged to provide access to health services to all deaf patients and their family members,” the law stated.

The law becomes effective 15 days after its publication in the Official Gazette or one newspaper of general circulation. — BM, GMA News

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Mabini the Mason with Contemporary Filipino Masons

October 4, 2018

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Last Monday October 1, I got to show to Filipino Masons belonging to NCR-G my educational documentary on the life of Apolinario Mabini, one of our great heroes. It was held at Fort Bonifacio, a military camp. It was my first time to enter the Fort. Mr. Ray Noble, past Master of Muntinlupa City Masonic Lodge #414, and the Incumbent Grand Lodge Inspector for MW RQ Pagotan Lodge # 282 brought me to the venue. He with a few other Masons and their wives first previewed the film in September. It was held at the Masonic Grand Lodge in Manila. Those who watched PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon decided to show it to more members of the group. (see below)

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Members of the 13 Masonic Lodges of NCR-

Mabini, first Secretary of Foreign Affairs and who could have been the First Secretary of Justice were not for his disability joined the Masonic group in 1892. He was called “Katabay” at the time. Many of our heroes during the Spanish regime were Masons, Jose Rizal included. Masons were anti-friars hence they were sought after by the Spanish authorities. It was because of their oppression of our people that masonry became popular in the country. Then and now, it continues to exist as a brotherhood. In fact, my father was a Mason too.The Masonic District NCR-G, under the Jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Lodge of Free & Accepted Masons of the Philippines is spearheading the event. Their Incumbent District Deputy Grand Master (DDGM) is Very Worshipful Emmanuel Bravo.
MD NCR-G is composed of 13 Masonic Lodges:
1. Batong Buhay Lodge #27
2. Muog Lodge #89
3. King Solomon Lodge # 150
4. Wenceslao Trinidad Masonic Lodge #365
5. MW RQ Pagotan Masonic Lodge #282
6. Kagitingan Lodge #256
7. Gen. Artemio Ricarte Lodge #322
8. Jacobo Zobel Mem. Lodge #202
9. Palanyag Lodge #323
10. Dr. Felimon Aguilar-Las Piñas Lodge #332
11. Hadji Butu Razul Mem. Lodge #393
12. Muntinlupa City Masonic Lodge #414
13. Taguig Masonic Lodge #431

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The Most Un-Baldemor of Them All

October 1, 2018

Description of the painting as written on the tags used

I am familiar with Manuel Baldemor’s style and color preferences having been exposed to his works, being one of the most prolific and popular visual artists in the Philippines. He hails from Paete, Laguna. Well-traveled, he had documented and interpreted in visual form the places he had visited. He just had an exhibit of his paintings focused on Berne, Switzerland initiated by Art Circle Gallery in Shang-rila Hotel. That was where I first met him.

My connection with one of his paintings started a couple of months back when I got hooked on — for me — the most un-Baldemor painting of them all. Well, at least from all his works that I had seen before, his painting “Hungarian Democratic Symbol — The Parliament” looked quite different. It is most simple but contemplative. The colors are more of pastel shades, and the negative spaces he used are comparatively larger than his usual and more known compositions. I didn’t recognize his style. The canvas was also textured with defined and playful lines instead of just being plain. I just loved the simplicity of his composition and the play and overlapping of colors.

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“Details of Manuel Baldemor’s “Hungarian Democratic Symbol — The Parliament”

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With Manuel Baldemor’s “Hungarian Democratic Symbol – The Parliament” dated 2001

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Details of the painting

The mood was quite evocative of the time I set foot in Sacre Coeur Church in Paris, France where I stood nearly eye level to the clouds or mists at the time. With the solemn Gregorian chant being played right then, I felt so spiritually up; it was as if I were with angels and walking on the clouds in a manner so similar to what I read about from children’s story books; the same feeling that I had when I first went to Sagada when the place was still pristine, and not yet popular to tourists. I do not remember seeing any foreign tourist for one. There must have been less than 10 of us at the time when our group [consisting of four staff] from the UP Film Center went there to take photographs. We held an exhibit at the UP Palma Hall or A.S. Building after the trip.

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Manuel Baldemor’s signature includes the painting’s title

Funnily, the twist was when Mr. Baldemor told us that what I thought to be clouds were  actually waters of the Danube River – a body of water that passes to nine other countries other than Hungary: Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. The muted colored elements perceptively of buildings were divided — taken from the high perspective viewpoint of Baldemor’s eyemind.

I found it awesome that in cropping parts of the whole painting to show details, it yielded several that could stand on their own as separate paintings. I recently saw a small painting he did in Malaysia dated 2017; surprisingly, done 16 years apart, the style is reminiscent of portions of this painting.

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Sanctions sought for Mocha Uson, blogger over offensive sign language video

September 19, 2018

(As an advocate on the use and recognition of Filipino Sign Language in the Philippines for more than a decade now, it is quite irritating to see people unmindful of the plight and feelings of our Deaf brothers and sisters. Please read the report below courtesy of ABS-CBN – MM)

MANILA – The De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde has urged government to penalize Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Andrew Olivar for making fun of sign language in a video.

The school, in a statement, said the video was a “clear violation of RA 9442, which penalizes verbal, non-verbal ridicule and vilification against persons with disability.”

“The mimicry of sign language and of the Deaf’s voice, as well as the statements of incitement and insult from a government official and a blogger are definitely discriminating against the Deaf, their culture, and language,” it said.

In a video shared by Uson to her 5.7 million followers last Thursday, Olivar can be seen mimicking sign language and making sounds in an apparent imitation of hearing-impaired people. Uson, who filmed the clip, can be heard laughing in the background.

The school also called on the government to consider the removal of Uson from office.

“We call on the government to take action against Mr. Olivar and Asec. Uson, and impose the appropriate penalties as provided by law,” it said.

“Furthermore, the acts of Asec. Uson are deemed unbecoming of a government official who, according to RA 6713, is expected to have a high standard of ethics in public service. We urge this government to consider the removal of Asec. Uson.”

The school is an advocate for the deaf community and houses a School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies and the Benilde Deaf School.

Uson and Olivar on Monday posted separate videos of apology to the deaf community.

However, Deaf groups on Monday rejected the apology, saying they would still need to consult with their 55 member organizations, as well as the National Council on Disability Affairs. They are thinking of lodging a complaint, as well as coordinating with the government for deaf awareness seminars.

They also want the public to be more aware of how they value sign language, which is their main form of communication. They hope the issue will help promote the proposed law on Filipino Sign Language, which was recently approved by the Senate.

Uson and Olivar’s offensive use of sign language was featured in a clip promoting their noontime radio show. The video has garnered 150,000 views.

The duo earlier drew flak for a controversial video featuring the jingle “pepedederalismo” – a play on the term federalism – on Uson’s Facebook page. – with reports from Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News 

(Source: https://news.abs-cbn.com/news/09/18/18/sanctions-sought-for-mocha-uson-blogger-over-offensive-sign-language-video)

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PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon sa Dasma, Cavite

July 21, 2018

The film screening of PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon, a documentary on Apolinario Mabini was shown yesterday as part of the 40th Celebrations of the National Disability Prevention and Rehabilitation Week in Dasmarinas, Cavite. Venue was the Audio-Visual Room at the Pagamutan ng Dasmarinas located in Barangay Burol II. The program was initiated by Dasma DSWD in collaboration with Jan Pena, former National President of the Autism Society Philippines [ASP}. PULE was participated in by Deaf performers who interpreted Mabini’s El Verdadero Decalogo, and was music scored by a twice exceptional Person with Autism, Thristan Mendoza.

Two screenings were scheduled in the morning. from 8:00 to 12 noon. Viewers were CFDI Presidents, officers and members of ASP, SPED teachers and parents. Another viewing was held in the afternoon to accommodate more SPED teachers and parents. According to the text message of Jan Pena, the film was well-received by the stake holders probably because of their having learnt more about a man who is taken for granted as just one of those images of heroes in the Philippine coins nationally in circulation.

Below is the Calendar of Activities by DSWD Dasma up to July 31

Note: PULE will be shown again but in the province of Rizal on Monday, July 23, Apolinario Mabini’s birthday. Venue on Monday is SM Angono.

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PWDs CAN! Film Festival – July 23, 2018

July 7, 2018

AUTISM SOCIETY PHILIPPINES – RIZAL CHAPTERS
(Antipolo – Taytay – Cainta – San Mateo – Angono)
in partnership with the
MUNICIPALITY OF ANGONO, RIZAL
and
SM CENTER ANGONO
present

PWDs CAN! Film Festival
a special screening for the 40th NDPR (with a cast of multi-talented PWDs)

Saliksikin ang mga Kakayanan at Kasanayan ng Filipino PWDs
sa mga makasaysayang dokumentaryong likha ni Mirana Medina,
2015 Apolinario Mabini Media Advocate Awardee

July 23, 2018, Monday
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
SM Center Angono Events Center

P r o g r a m
8:00 – 8:30 Registration
8:30 – 9:00 Opening Ceremonies

Film Fest Proper
9:00 – 10:00 #1 PULE: Utak ng Rebolusyon

10:00 – 11:30 #2 Silent Odyssey (Deaf)

11:30 – 11:45 #3 Hand in Hand (Deaf Employment)

11:45 – 12:00 Open Forum

12:00 – 1:00 Lunch Break

1:00 – 1:30 #4 RIZAL: Mi Ultimo Adios

1:30 – 2:00 #5 The Blind Architect (Accessibility)

2:00 – 4:00 #6 ALYANA: A Study of Autism in the Philippines

Open Forum
1Pangako
4:00 – 5:00 Closing Ceremonies