CBCP cites progress in deaf awareness

AN OFFICIAL of the Catholic Church’s health care ministry reported dramatic progress has been made in raising awareness and sensitizing about the needs of the handicapped people, especially the deaf.

Fr. Luke Moortgat said the campaign and programs of the church and various organizations is having a significant impact, particularly in raising awareness.

The country is currently celebrating Deaf Awareness Week aimed at bringing attention to deaf people, their language and culture, their contributions to the society and their issues.

The event also serves as an opportunity to enlighten the public about deaf people and their community, said Moortgat.

“We’ve seen progress, more people are coming. We have more deaf in the schools now. It’s not yet enough but there is progress,” Moorgat said. The priest said it’s no secret that the deaf people have been oppressed, arginalized and under-represented.

The executive secretary of the Commission on Health Care of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines added that their sign languages have been oppressed for the use in their education.

“But now, more places already accept an interpreter to sign for the deaf… it’s not enough but there is progress, and with your help, we’ll make more progress,” said Moortgat.

The church official, however, lamented that the country still has a long way to go in terms of enlightening the public about the blind and the mentally retarded people.

“We do not have enough services for the blind… people ridicule them. I’ve seen people who are mentally retarded who are being ridiculed and are being rejected form our society,” he said.

For many years, Moortgat devoted his time not just to handicapped but also to those with multiple disabilities, the mentally ill and those dying in the streets. CBCPNews

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