THE RAINBOW RISES IN ILOCOS SUR.
Ilocos Sur joins the growing number of local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines with an anti-discrimination ordinance, with the province’s “gender-fair ordinance” approved on final reading by the Provincial Board, and now awaiting the signature of Governor Ryan Luis V. Singson.
Principally sponsored by Atty. Pablito Sanidad, Ilocos Sur’s ADO is said to mimic Quezon City’s version of ADO, which focuses on the sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, compared to other ADO versions that lump the LGBT community with other minority sectors (e.g. indigenous peoples, people living with HIV, persons with disability, seniors) as this approach is deemed more palatable to those who may oppose passing an ADO.
According to transwoman Dindi Tan, executive director of the Pride Council of Ilocos Sur, the organization that lobbied for the ADO and initiated its drafting from the start (along with Rainbow Rights Project Inc.), “having a local policy on anti-discrimination empowers the LGBT community. It has a ‘pride’ effect on LGBT people.”
Tan said that Ilocos Sur had its share of LGBT-related hate crimes. One of her friends, for instance, was stabbed 11 times by the person she dated; and another one – a teacher in Narvacan – was bashed by his date, crashing his head.
“We were inspired to lobby for this because of our LGBT brothers and sisters who are victims of violence,” Tan said. “These people should not just become part of statistics.”
Ilocos Sur’s ADO prohibits, among others:
- Employment-related discrimination
- Discrimination in education
- Discrimination in delivery of goods and services
- Discrimination in accommodation
- Verbal/non-verbal ridicule and vilification
- Harassment, unjust detention and involuntary confinement
- Disallowance from entry or refusal to serve
- Promotion of LGBT discrimination
Any person held liable under the ordinance may be penalized with imprisonment for 60 days to a year or fined from P1,000, or both, depending on the discretion of a court.