MANILA, Philippines - As the world celebrates the international day for persons with disabilities, Filipino lawmakers are pushing for a mandated placement of sub-titles or closed captions in television programs.
"Closed caption are text descriptions of the speech, music and sound effects of a television program. Although closed captioning provides a critical link to news, entertainment and information for individuals with hearing disabilities," Buhay Rep. Irwin Tieng said.
He and colleague Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde said House Bill 6688 will help in the development of the reading and literacy skills of those with hearing disabilities. He said the sub-titles are helpful in public places where sound is inaudible or impractical.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) and other concerned agencies and entities are required to promulgate the necessary rules and regulations for the effective implementation of the bill.
The bill imposes a fine of not less than P50,000 but not more than P100,000 or imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court.
In case the offender is a corporation, partnership or association, or any other juridical person, the president, manager, administrator, or person-in-charge of the management of the business shall be held liable. In addition, the license or permit to operate its business shall be cancelled.
Not covered are: public service announcements that are shorter than 10 minutes, programs shown in the early morning hours from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. and programs that are primarily textual in nature.