In a historic first, Senate Bill No. 935 – otherwise known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill (ADB) – has become the first LGBT bill in the Philippines to reach the Senate plenary.
Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros reiterated her call for the passage of a law that will protect members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender or LGBT community in the country, citing numerous cases of hate crimes and discriminatory practices.
Sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, who also serves as chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, the bill seeks to mandate the creation of social protection and diversity programs that will protect the rights of LGBT people. More specifically, it eyes to
- eliminate all forms of discrimination based on SOGIE;
- list and define discriminatory acts committed in employment, public service and exercise of profession, in educational or learning institutions, in organizations and associations, in access to medical and health services, in establishments, facilities, utilities, and services, in forced medical or psychological evaluation, in contact with or in custody of law enforcement officers;
- introduce to Philippine legislation the concept of ‘sexual orientation and gender identity or expression’;
- mandate the creation of social protection and diversity programs that will protect LGBT rights and promote equality;
- provide for redress mechanisms in police stations, in the workplace and in the Commission on Human Rights (CHR); and
- ensure that discrimination, stigma, and hate will not hinder anyone from access to education, healthcare, employment, and other fundamental rights.
In her sponsorship speech, Hontiveros said: “Wala na dapat transwoman na pinipilit na maggupit-lalaki sa opisina. Wala na dapat baklang pinagababawalang mag-donate ng dugo. Wala na dapat trans na dinedetain sa immigration. Wala na dapat bakla o lesbyanang hinaharass at kinikikilan ng mga pulis. Wala na dapat batang lalaking mahilig sa pink ang binubully sa paaralan (No transwoman should be forced to get a male haircut at work. No gay guy should be banned from donating blood. No trans person should be detained at the immigration. No gay guy or lesbian woman should be harassed by the police officials. No male child who just happens to like the color pink should be bullied at school).”
It is also estimated that – since 1996, over 160 crimes against LGBT people took place, though ” the numbers may be higher since the country lacks a clear policy on determining what classifies as a hate crime,” Hontiveros said. This bill similarly eyes to give focus on “effects of systemic discrimination.”
Congress has failed to pass the ADB for the last 17 years.