MANILA CITY, November 10, 2023 – Fulfilling its mandate of providing inclusive education, the Department of Education (DepEd) conducted the 2023 National Deaf Awareness Week (NDAW) kick-off program on Friday to promote Filipino Sign Language (FSL) and other inclusive communication towards a resilient future.

Through the Bureau of Learning Delivery-Student Inclusion Division (BLD-SID), the Department continuously takes steps to raise awareness on the implementation of safe and inclusive education, and the use of FSL as a medium of instruction for deaf learners.

“MATATAG Agenda is ready to support the implementation of RA 11106 and 11650 and integrate disability inclusion into national mechanisms to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” BLD Director Leila Areola emphasized.

National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) Regional Programs Coordinator Dr. Delfina Jaleco Baquir, who represented NCDA Officer-in-Charge Executive Director Dandy C. Victa, expressed that the participation of partners in NDAW served as a commitment to promoting and protecting the physical, moral, and social well-being of Deaf and Hard of hearing Individuals.

“The significance of this week extends far beyond these opening rites. It is a call to action, a reminder of our shared humanity, and all opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of those that have also been marginalized or misunderstood,” NCDA OC ED Victa said, as read by NCDA Regional Programs Coordinator Dr. Baquir.

Among the relevant topics highlighted by speakers from the University of the Philippine Manila – National Institutes of Health Dr. Rosario R. Ricalde; Philippine Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (PRID) Executive Director Shirley Pinky Earnhart, and Pasay City Judge Remebiel U. Mondia, and Dr. Raphael “Rafa” Domingo of De La Salle College of Saint Benilde were RA 9709: Universal Newborn Hearing Screening and Intervention Act Of 2009, Interpreters Guidelines, and Court Interpreting, and Success in Life as a Deaf person, respectively.

Part of the 2023 NDAW will be the holding of school-based activities from November 13-15 which will focus on showcasing stories of inspiration and success, presentation of vlogs using the FSL, and the conduct of a poster making contest about 2023 NDAW.

“Pag nakikita ninyo ang mga Deaf student na natatakot for their future, give them support. You can do it. Don’t be afraid. Okay lang na may challenges [kasi] it’s a lesson for you to learn and [to] improve [from]. Encourage that Deaf person,” Dr. Domingo said while sharing a lesson from his doctorate journey.

Meanwhile, KWF Chair Arthur Casanova noted that every individual should have equal opportunities to benefit from educational rights and services in building a sustainable future.