Mocha Uson, blogger draw flak anew for making fun of sign language

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 17) Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson is in hot water yet again after a viral Facebook clip showed her— along with blogger Drew Olivar— "mocking" sign language and the deaf community.

In a live video shared on her Facebook page on September 14, Uson asked Olivar to mimic a hearing-impaired person.

"Mag-language sign ka (Do sign language)," Uson said at the start of the almost 13-minute clip. 

Olivar then obliged, and proceeded to do gestures like a deaf person using sign language.

Uson, amid laughter behind the camera, told Olivar, "para kang unggoy diyan," (you are like a monkey right now).

In a statement posted on her social media page Monday, the Assistant Secretary clarified the video was not intended for the administration's federalism drive. 

"I want to clarify as some are saying that this is a federalism video. It is not a federalism video," Uson wrote. 

"On my part, I will be more active in guiding Drew. I hope this will serve all." 

Olivar, meanwhile, shared a live video of a public apology also on Facebook. 

 

'Disrespect'

Netizens and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) advocates alike called out the two for making fun of the deaf community.

 

 

"Kami ay nagpapahayag ng pagkasuklam sa ginawa nilang ito, lalo na kay Olivar," PWD Philippines, an organization for Filipinos with disabilities, wrote on its Facebook page.

"Ang mga may kapansanan ay HINDI DAPAT PINAGTATAWANAN. Dahil LAHAT TAYO papunta sa kapansanan pag tanda natin at pag nagkasakit tayo."

[Translation: We are expressing our angers towards what they did, especially what Olivar did. A person with disability should be not laughed upon. Because all of us will have sickness once we reach old age.]

Senator Nancy Binay likewise called out Uson and Olivar for being "disrespectful to the sizeable deaf and mute community who already struggle in airing their concerns and aspirations."

Binay added that Uson, as a public official, should "refrain from mocking the people she serves." The solon noted that making fun of PWDs is in violation of the Republic Act No. 9442 or the Magna Carta for Disabled Persons.

Uson was previously issued a memo by the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) for the controversial federalism video she made with Olivar.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque meanwhile refused to comment on the video, saying he will "leave it up" to Communications Secretary Martin Andanar to talk it out with Uson.

The video has 157,000 views as of publishing time.