- TV stations will soon be required to have subtitles in their broadcasts
- The legislation that aims to help the hearing impaired has passed Congress and will soon be enacted into a law
- By adopting and implementing closed captioning, TV broadcasts will be more accessible to around 1.4 million deaf Filipinos
There are over a million deaf Filipinos. Recently, Republic Act No. 10905, or the Closed Caption law, has been passed into law. It will soon be enforced by the National Telecommunications Commission.
It was forwarded to Malacañang last June 20, and after 30 days of no action from Malacañang, the bill is now considered a law, said Senator Grace Poe yesterday.
The new law requires TV stations to make use of a subtitling system that transcribes spoken lines as well as describing non-verbal elements in the screen to readable text. It will be in effect 15 days after its publication. The progressive law is already in effect in other countries to help the disabled, including the United States.
Senator Grace Poe is the principal author of the bill, being the chair on on the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media last Congress. She is also the former MTRCB Chairman.
Poe has stated that the bill is in accordance to the Philippines' commitment to upholding the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, which says "there should be full accessibility and recognition of the linguistic and cultural identity of persons with disability."
Senator Poe introduced the bill last 2014, citing that there are currently 1.4 million hearing impaired Filipinos as of 2009 who have impaired access to information. Around 241,624 are deaf, 275,912 are partially deaf, and the rest are hard of hearing.
The new law forces all franchise holders or operators of television stations and producers of television programs to broadcast or present their programs with closed caption options.
The exemptions to the rule are public service announcements shorter than 10 minutes, TV broadcasts in the dead hours of the evening (1 AM until 6 AM), and programs that "are primarily textual" in nature, and for station operators that find it "economically burdensome".