Press Release
October 11, 2016


Senator Grace Poe looks forward to the timely and meaningful implementation of a law that provides the deaf and hard of hearing equal access to information on television, with the finalization of its implementing rules and regulations (IRR) within the year.

Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) Chairperson Eugenio Villareal reported to the public information and mass media committee chaired by Poe that the Board, in consultation with stakeholders, is set to approve the IRR it is currently drafting by next month.

Republic Act (RA) 10905, or the Closed Caption Law which Poe championed in the 16th Congress, makes it mandatory for television operators to include closed captions in presenting their programs to benefit the deaf and hard-of-hearing sector.

"Karapatan ng lahat ng ating mga kababayan na magkaroon ng pantay na oportunidad tungo sa inklusibong pag-unlad ng ating bayan," Poe emphasized, "It is our shared responsibility to ensure that all Filipinos have equal access to opportunities." Closed captioning is the method of subtitling TV programs by coding statements as vertical interval data signals that are decoded at the receiver and superimposed at the bottom of the TV screen.

The law is consistent with the Philippines' commitment to provide equal opportunities to the deaf and hard-of-hearing when it ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, which states that there should be full accessibility and recognition of the linguistic and cultural identity of persons with disability.?? ??

Under Section 5 of RA 10905, the MTRCB, in consultation with the National Telecommunications Commission and other agencies shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulation within 120 days from the effectivity of the law. The measure lapsed into law last July 21 and took effect 15 days after publication on Aug. 16. The 120-day period within which to craft the IRR culminates on Dec. 14.

Exemptions will be given to franchise holders or operators of TV stations and program producers on public service announcements that are shorter than 10 minutes; programs shown from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m.; programs that are primarily textual in nature; and when compliance would be economically burdensome to TV operators.?

"Nararapat lamang nating ipadama sa kanila na mahalagang bahagi sila ng ating lipunan at malaki ang kanilang naiaambag sa iba't ibang larangan," Poe said.

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