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BLIND SPOT: Discriminating, Disregarding Sensitivity

She’s at it again. Yes, yes; we all love a little humor here and there. We would be standing up in some great amount of humor. We’re a happy people after all. Gallup International, an England based reputable polling organization in its 41st Annual Global End of Year Survey showed this year, “the Philippines ranking 3rd happiest country in the world, with a net score of +84” behind Fiji with a score of +92, followed by Colombia with +87. ( (Why are these third world countries?) Three years ago, in 2015, the same organization showed the Philippines ranked fifth happiest nation in the world, with a score of 80. (“Paraguay topped the list of happiest countries with a score of 89. On second place are Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala with a score of 84. On third place are Honduras, Panama, and Venezuela with a score of 82. On fourth place are Costa Rica, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.”) (Colombia is consistently happy. Why are we lined up with former Spanish colonies, third world countries with problems with drugs, violence, corruption, economic crises, dictatorial governments; except for Costa Rica for fairness’ sake, although it’s also a Hispanic country.) ( So, if we do a little averaging, we would rank second behind Colombia, a country which had been noted seems to be our model for solutions with problem with illegal drugs. That is interesting; but we’re talking about happiness here. So, were a happy people. Then, it won’t be any wonder if we crack some jokes here and there. Nothing wrong, right? We could joke about anything. We can joke at our own mistakes, at our imperfections, at other people’s disabilities. Wait. I don’t think I’d still be happy with that last one. “Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Assistant Secretary Mocha Uson and blogger Andrew “Drew” Olivar are once again in hot water — this time, for making fun of sign language. In a now-viral post a clip of Olivar can be seen, wherein he mimics sign language. Uson can be heard laughing while filming Olivar. “ Republic Act 9442 or the Magna Carta for Persons with Disability Section 39 of the said law defines public ridicule as “making fun or contemptuous imitating or making mockery of persons with disability whether in writing, or in words, or in action” because of their impairment.” One person may lack knowledge on geography or the ability to articulate the principles of one form of government, like federalism, for example; but insensitivity towards the very culture of a community with challenges, their mode of adaptation for social inclusion, is one great step down the scale of intelligence and civilization. How long shall Filipino dignity suffer the presence of this anomaly in its government? For the sake of impartiality, it could have been all just for fun which each of us may sometimes dabble in. (Come on, we all throw in some irresponsible jokes sometimes.) Maybe they did not mean to insult persons with hearing impairment. Maybe they were just having some ignorant and insensitive fun. The persons in question have given public apologies via the same format through which this mess came about. Olivar has since given unconditional apology and Assistant Secretary Uson has taken full responsibility. And of course, not all Duterte supporters share the same insensitivity towards persons with disability. Oh, but wait. “in a campaign rally in Kalibo, Aklan, then Philippine presidential candidate Rodrigo Duterte was describing to the audience the status of the plaza of Davao City as one of the most beautiful in the nation. “He said that upon the request of PWDs, he provided wheel chairs at the plaza and designated attendants, two nurses and a doctor to take care of elderly, and PWDs visiting the plaza. When he inspected the plaza, the mayor said he observed the PWDs, one of whom was his classmate, who was suffering disability due to a stroke. “Gusto kong sabihin, magpakamatay ka na lang (I wanted to tell him to just die), he said in jest, even suggesting that his classmate could use a barber’s shaving razor. He also described how the PWDs would be inattentive when military trainees who were jogging pass by but would glance up if the joggers were women. Duterte said that the attendant of one elderly PWD even helped turn the person’s head so he could continue gazing at the women joggers.” ( So, is this some sort of company policy? Some common principle they adhere to? Or some pollutant that contaminated the air or the water in Malacañang? “Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth.” Psalm 2:10

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