In a landmark move, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) on Monday, Sept. 27, started using Filipino Sign Language (FSL) interpreters in online lectures for its environmental awareness campaign.

During the online lecture for Persons with Disability/Senior Citizens (PWD/SC) Desk titled "Perfect 10 in September," FSL interpreters from the Philippine National Association of Sign Language Interpreters joined the lectures on the 10 priority programs of the DENR and its Tayo ang Kalikasan campaign.

Through the lectures, the DENR creates an inclusive atmosphere for special sectors toward the protection and conservation of the environment, said DENR Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management and Local Government Units Concerns Benny D. Antiporda, who is a staunch supporter of PWD/SC rights.

"We in the Department are very serious in integrating activities to our priority programs that will provide platforms for our special sectors to be part of our initiatives in protecting, conserving, and managing our country’s environment and natural resources," Antiporda said.

He also acknowledged the contribution of the senior citizens and PWDs among DENR personnel.

"To our colleagues preparing for their retirement, allow me to thank you, from the bottom of my heart for the valued public service you have rendered," Antiporda said.

"To our colleagues with special needs, know that your contribution to our country is valuable and appreciated," he added.

DENR Strategic Communication and Initiatives Service Director Hiro V. Masuda said the activity is the pilot launch of incorporating Filipino sign language in the DENR’s environmental lectures in support of Republic Act 11106 or the Filipino Sign Language Act.

The law declares the Filipino Sign Language as the national sign language of the Filipino deaf and the official sign language of government in all transactions involving the deaf, and mandating its use in schools, broadcast media, and workplaces.

Masuda initiated the inclusion of FSL in the Department’s information, education, and communication campaigns in accordance with RA 11106.

He also noted that the activity is in line with the celebration of the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Civil Service.

In support of the Linggo ng Pasasalamat for the Civil Service Commission’s month-long celebration, the DENR recognized employees "to express gratitude to the valuable support of the DENR civil servants who are about to retire."

The month of September is declared as the Civil Service Month pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 1050, series of 1997.

The PWD/SC Desk is under the DENR Stakeholder Management and Conflict Resolution Division. ###