THE United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Saturday urged the Commission on Elections (Comelec) and organizers of Pilipinas Debates to change the format of the next pre-election debates so that these can be understood by the deaf.
UNA spokesman Mon Ilagan said the Comelec should ask media organizers and TV networks to include a sign language interpreter during the live broadcast, and a closed-caption format for replays and delayed broadcasts on television.
“Ang proposal at suggestion po namin ay gawing deaf-friendly ang pagbo-broadcast ng live debates. Nais po nating bigyan ang mga kababayan nating hard-of-hearing ng aktibong papel sa eleksyon sa pamamagitan ng pagbibigay ng tamang impormasyon at upang mapakinggan nila ang posisyon ng mga kandidato sa pagkapangulo at pagkapangalawang pangulo [Our suggestion it to make the debates deaf-friendly. We want to give our fellow Filipinos who are hard at hearing an active role in the elections through proper information dissemination so that they can understand the positions of candidates for president and vice president],” Ilagan said.
According to him, Vice President Jejomar Binay does not want people with physical impairment, those who are hard of hearing and even senior citizens be excluded from participating in the debates.
“We believe that it is our moral duty to provide them the appropriate access to information. It is also their legal right to have equal access to information,” Ilagan said.
He added that designating seats or sections for persons with disabilities (PWDs) and senior citizens in debate venues would also encourage the disabled to fully participate and enable them to know the candidates and decide who are the rightful candidates to choose.
“It is as simple as providing a sign language interpreter for official Comelec or their sanctioned events such as the presidential debates,” Ilagan said.
He noted that UNA is the only political party who had PWD and senior citizen-friendly sorties and outdoor events, especially during the 2013 senatorial elections.