Lapid wants public announcements translated to Filipino, other Philippine languages

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 26 2020 01:31 PM | Updated as of Jun 27 2020 10:48 AM

Sen. Lito Lapid physically attends the plenary session on June 2, 2020. Henzberg Austria, Senate PRIB

MANILA - Sen. Lito Lapid on Friday renewed his push to have all public announcements translated to Tagalog or other dialects depending on the place where the notice was given.

Under Lapid's proposed Senate Bill No. 1564, all government agencies will be required to "convert in an easily understandable" language all announcements, advisories, press releases, issuances and any other information relevant to a local or national disaster or emergency.

"Nais nating ang lahat ng impormasyon ukol sa mga kalamidad ay madaling maunawaan, lalo na ng ating mga kababayan sa iba't ibang rehiyon," he said.

(We want all disaster-related information to be language-accessible and readily-comprehensive, especially to speakers of our regional languages and dialects.)

The bill covers typhoon warnings, and advisories on earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcano eruptions.

Health advisories from the Department of Health should also be translated to Filipino and other dialects, Lapid said.

"The translated information shall be disseminated as widely as possible through all available media and communication channels," he said.

In 2013, weather service and other officials admitted that while there were early warnings about the strength of Supertyphoon Yolanda, victims - who were mostly from Leyte - were unfamiliar with the term "storm surge."

After the disaster, the government agency worked with linguists to come up with simpler terms to describe the danger brought by typhoons, earthquakes, and other calamities.

Under Lapid's bill, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will be required to provide technical assistance and expertise to the government agencies in the translation of announcements.

The KWF will also be mandated to monitor the compliance of government agencies.

In previous years, the actor-turned-lawmaker admitted to having difficulties in using the English language.

In 2011, Lapid said he was hesitant to join Senate debates of the Reproductive Health bill due to his "bad English."

In 2013, after finishing back-to-back 6-year terms in the Senate, he made his showbiz comeback and requested his director not to give him English lines, which he admittedly finds challenging to deliver.