Climaco inks TV sign language inset edict

Insets of sign language interpreters in news and public affairs programs on television and other media platforms will soon be mandatory in Zamboanga City after Mayor Beng Climaco has approved the ordinance to that effect.

Enacted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod on May 24, 2022 and approved by the mayor on May 30, Ordinance No. 574 institutionalizes inclusivity in news and public affairs programs of media platforms operating in Zamboanga City, thereby requiring simultaneous sign language insets and descriptive programming or subtitles.

Under Section 3 of the ordinance provides that news and public affairs programs, including others as may be deemed feasible, produced by the multimedia platforms operating in Zamboanga City shall have simultaneous sign language inset or captioning, or both, administered by trained professional sign language interpreters.

Further, the sign language interpreters must be accredited by a duly recognized national sign language organizations as may be accredited by any government agency.

The ordinance also mandates as a requirement for application and renewal of pertinent business permits the document reflecting an action plan on the implementation of sign language inset or captioning as well as descriptive program dissemination, particularly news and public affairs programs of multimedia platforms operating in Zamboanga City.

A training on sign language and descriptive programming may be initiated by the Persons with Disabilities Affairs Unit in partnership with learning institutions offering special education.

The city government shall appropriate an initial amount of P3 million in its annual or supplemental budget for the implementation of the ordinance, which is in compliance with the Magna Carta for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) stating that, “Television station shall be encouraged to provide a sign language inset or subtitles in at least one newscast program a day and special coverage events of citywide and national significance.”- (Vic Larato)