City to hire qualified interpreter

The City Council approved on third and final reading a proposed ordinance providing for the hiring of a qualified city interpreter for residents and visitors with hearing impairments.

The ordinance authored by Councilor Isabelo B. Cosalan, Jr. states that the city interpreter shall be a regular city employee under the City Social Welfare and Development Office whose qualifications, salary grade and job description shall be determined by the City Human Resource Management Office pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations.

The ordinance stipulates, among other related functions, the city interpreter shall be responsible in interpreting through sign language understood by persons with disabilities, particularly the deaf and mute, public discourses during the regular Monday flag-raising ceremony, September 1, Baguio City Charter Day celebration, June 12 Independence Day and December 30 Rizal Dy celebrations, Panagbenga or the flower festival opening and closing ceremonies and other similar local government functions where the public is invited to actively participate.

The ordinance adds that 60 days after the approval of the same, the CHRMO shall come up with the list of the necessary qualifications and job description required of a city interpreter, including the compensation, among other related documents for the said purpose.

Further, the CSWDO shall cause the adjustment of its department’s annual budget to accommodate the said new personnel considering that for the first three years of the implementation of the same, the hiring of the city interpreter will be through honorarium basis or as the need arises.

Republic Act (RA) 7277 or ‘An Act Providing the Rehabilitation, Self-Development and Self-Reliance of Disabled Persons and their Integration into the Mainstream of Society and for Other Purposes’ provides it is the policy of the State, among others, to facilitate integration of disabled persons into the mainstream of society, the State shall advocate for and encourage respect for disabled persons.

Moreover, the State shall exert all efforts to remove all social, cultural, economic, environmental and attitudinal barriers that are prejudicial to disabled persons.

One of the auxiliary aids and services to pursue such State policy is the provision of qualified interpreters or other effective methods of delivering materials to persons with hearing impairments.

Mainstream media and organizers of major crowd drawing events in the national scene already started providing for interpreters in their shows to serve the interest persons with disabilities, particularly the deaf and mute.

The City Council’s committee on ethics, governmental affairs and personnel recommended the approval of the legislative measure to add up to the increasing number of interventions being provided by the city government for the benefit of persons with disabilities pursuant to existing laws, rules and regulations for the promotion of the rights of disabled persons. - Dexter A. See