MANILA - (UPDATED) Senator Nancy Binay on Monday scored Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Drew Olivar for supposedly making fun of sign language.
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.
"Hindi nakakatuwa ang huling video ni Asec. Mocha Uson at Drew Olivar. It is disrespectful to the sizeable Deaf/Mute community who already struggle in airing their concerns and aspirations," Binay said in a statement.
(The latest video of Asec. Mocha Uson and Drew Olivar is not amusing.)
"Such discriminatory actions set back our efforts to make our society more inclusive by providing a more conducive environment for Deaf Filipinos to exercise their right to expression without prejudice," she added.
Binay, who authored a bill recognizing the Filipino Sign Language as an an official medium of communication, reminded Uson that "as a public official, it is paramount that she refrain from mocking the people she serves."
Such actions violate the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons, the lawmaker noted.
"Sign language should never be made an amusement piece," she said.
Deaf community leader slams Uson, Olivar
Marya Angcay, a leader of the Deaf community in the country, slammed Uson and Olivar for mocking the sign language that "bridges the gap between hearing advocates and deaf people."
In a Facebook post, Angcay said the duo's video reminded her of the times she could not fight back when people mocked her using sign language to gesturing curses and obscenities.
"Our natural sign language is NOT A JOKE!!! It is a visual language of the Deaf people, the means of communication of the Deaf community around the world," she explained.
"How would you feel if others say bad words to you? Angry? Hurt? Disrespected? That is how we feel with your video... We felt disrespected," she added.
Angcay also blasted Uson for "instructing and encouraging" Olivar in the video to make fun of the language while the Deaf community continues to struggle for equality and equal access in the country.
"Because your fake signing can be bastos... You work as government official, right? What gives you the right to do this to us?" she added.
Uson and Olivar's 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.