The deaf and the hearing-impaired will soon gain equal access to information on television as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the Closed Caption Law will be finalized this year.
Sen. Grace Poe, the principal sponsor of Republic Act 10905, said that she looks forward to the “timely” and “meaningful” implementation of the law. “It is our shared responsibility to ensure that all Filipinos have equal access to opportunities,” Poe underscored.
Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) chairman Eugenio Villareal has told the Senate public information and mass media committee, chaired by Poe, that it is set to approve by next month the IRR it is currently drafting.
The law will compel television operators to include closed captions in presenting their programs to benefit the deaf and the hearing-impaired sector. Closed captioning is the method of subtitling TV programs by coding statements as vertical interval data signals that are decoded at the receiver and superimposed at the bottom of the TV screen. It is being practised in countries such as the US, UK and Australia.
As stated in Section 5 of RA 10905, the MTRCB, in consultation with the National Telecommunications Commission and other agencies, shall promulgate the necessary rules and regulation within 120 days from the effectivity of the law. The measure lapsed into law last July 21 and took effect 15 days after publication on August 16, while the 120-day period within which to craft the IRR culminates on December 14.
Exemptions will be made for public service announcements that are shorter than 10 minutes, programs shown from 1:00 am to 6:00 am, programs that are primarily textual in nature, and when compliance would be economically burdensome to TV operators.