The Plenary of the Chamber of Deputies unanimously approved the Law on Sign Language in the Dominican Republic, which for the first time provides a national linguistic system for deaf and mute persons, and approved the Law declaring Espaillat an ecotourism province.
Both laws pass to the Executive Branch for its promulgation or to present its observations to the Congress.
There were eight attempts for the approval of this Sign Language Law, with the modifications made by the Senate of the Republic. The project is authored by Rafael Tobías Crespo, deputy of the Fuerza del Pueblo (People’s Force). The Law recognizes the Sign Language as part of the linguistic plurality and cultural diversity of the Dominican State.
It provides for the State to adopt positive and necessary measures so that deaf and deaf-blind persons “may exercise the rights conferred to them by the Constitution and the Law on Disability”.
It mandates the State to promote and support research activities, teaching and dissemination of Sign Language; the integration of interpreters and interpreter guides for access to public and economic services of general interest.
Prior to the approval, a wide debate was generated, in the presence of young people and adults with hearing impairment, belonging to several organizations, from the upper part of the Chamber, who observed the voting, while a sign translator indicated the comments, such as those of the President of the Chamber, Alfredo Pacheco, Crespo and other legislators.
Meanwhile, a Council for Ecotourism Development of the Espaillat Province (CODEPE) was created as the governing body for the promotion and regulation of the activities generated by the law to promote tourism, culture and ecology.
Senator Carlos M. Gómez is the author of the bill. In addition, the bill declaring August 6 as National Athletics Day, an initiative of congressman Mateo Evangelista Espaillat, of Dominicans for Change, was approved.