MANILA – Sen. Risa Hontiveros said her Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill is still the best tool in combating discrimination on members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.
Hontiveros made the comment after Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said President Rodrigo Duterte will certify the anti-discrimination bill as urgent instead of the SOGIE bill.
“While an anti-discrimination measure is welcome, the SOGIE Equality Bill remains the best policy tool to protect members of the LGBT community from discrimination, harassment, and even violence,” Hontiveros said.
“The SOGIE Equality bill does not only define and prohibit discrimination, it also addresses stigma against persons with diverse SOGIE through programs promoting equality and diversity,” she added.
Hontiveros said the protective mechanism is unique to LGBT Filipinos, who experience not only discrimination but also stigma.
“We hope that President Duterte will seriously consider these points,” she added. “SOGIE advocates will continue to move the bill forward even as they continue to listen to different voices.”
“We will also work to ensure that provisions against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression are included in a comprehensive anti-discrimination measure. We will fight for equality on all fronts,” Hontiveros said.
She added the struggle for the SOGIE Equality bill is a journey of more than two decades and members of the LGBT community were just asking for equal rights.
“The LGBT community is not asking for special rights and privileges. Ang kanilang tanging hiling ay ituring sila ng pantay at mamuhay ng payapa na malaya sa diskriminasyon,” said Hontiveros./PN