A truly inclusive society must have one in place.
That is, if the social goal is to leave no one behind.
In the first place, there is already a law mandating it.
And the implementing rules and regulations have already been laid down.
But why are some broadcast networks dragging their feet in complying with this key piece of social legislation?
Such reluctance or refusal has caught the attention of discerning lawmakers.
For instance, Sen. Grace Poe has urged television networks to comply with the recently passed law that obliges TV stations to use subtitles for the benefit of the deaf and hard of hearing and provide them access to important programs.
Poe, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media and primary author of Republic Act 10905 or the Closed Caption Law, said the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board should adopt a firm policy in implementing the law.
"If they [networks] don't comply within a reasonable period, we will start fining them," said Poe during the MTRCB budget hearing in the Senate. Poe was former chair of the MTRCB.
RA 10905 lapsed into law in July last year. Its IRRs were promulgated by the MTRCB on Dec. 8, 2016. The law should have taken effect 15 days after the issuance of the IRR.
Giving the deaf and hard of hearing access to television programs would fulfill the Philippines' commitment to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2008, which states that "there should be full accessibility and recognition of the linguistic and cultural identity of persons with disability."
Poe believes that fully implementing the law would also empower them and engage them as part of society.
‘’These are a few networks who have not submitted...We are waiting for the others and we have reminded them,’’ MTRCB chair Rachel Arenas told senators.
Pressed how many have complied with the law, Arenas said that so far, "10% have complied," without specifying.
"Well, that's still very small. You just have to put your foot down," the senator told MTRB officials.
"I hope that you would send a memo to all the networks that they need to comply soon," Poe said, adding that the MTRCB should give networks a "deadline."
Doing so would pave the way for a fuller, richer democracy.