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Catholic student councils ask senators to end debate, pass bill to end discrimination vs LGBT

Ignoring possible sanctions from their school administrators, student councils from seven of the biggest Catholic schools in Metro Manila released a unified statement expressing support for the anti-discrimination bill.

The LGBT community has found unlikely allies: Catholic students. 

Ignoring possible sanctions from their school administrators, student councils from seven of the biggest Catholic schools in Metro Manila released a unified statement expressing support for a proposed bill being tackled in the Senate that seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression or SOGIE.

The statement, signed by student councils from the Ateneo de Manila University, University of Santo Tomas, San Beda University-Manila, De La Salle University-Manila, Miriam College, St. Scholastica’s College-Manila, the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde urged the “Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval”.

Senate Bill No. 1271 was sponsored by Sen. Risa Hontiveros last December 14, 2016 but has faced an uphill battle in the upper chamber, unlike in the House of Representatives that approved its version of the bill in September last year.

“In the Senate, It has been scheduled for debate 26 times, making it the longest-running bill under interpellation from Senators Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva, since it’s sponsorship close to two years ago,” said the Catholic student councils’ statement.

The student councils expressed concern on discrimination against LGBT persons.

“Every day with discrimination, people of diverse SOGIE get thrown out of their schools and homes, outed and ridiculed in the streets, barred from full employment, and deprived of access to healthcare”, their statement read.

The student councils cited their Christian upbringing in pushing for the said bill.  “Brought up on the Christian values of love and acceptance, and as leaders and representatives of students in Catholic academic institutions , we urge the Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval”, they urged.

The student council presidents urge the senators to end the debate on the bill.
“It is time to end the debate. We must forge a society grounded on equality – NOW”, the student councils concluded.

FULL STATEMENT

A SOCIETY THAT IS EQUAL
We are student government chairpersons from Catholic academic institutions united under the pillars of respect for human diversity, love and equality expressing our support to the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression [SOGIE] Equality Bill – an important piece of legislation that secures the rights and welfare of members of the LGBT community through a government policy of non-discrimination and full acceptance. 

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Every day with discrimination, people of diverse SOGIE get thrown out of their schools and homes, outed and ridiculed in the streets, barred from full employment, and deprived of access to healthcare. 

Every day with discrimination, LGBT persons live in constant fear of being stigmatized, harassed and, in many documented cases, killed due to hate. 

Every day with discrimination, members of the LGBT community are deprived of the full enjoyment of their rights. 

The approval on third and final reading of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the House of Representatives presents a hopeful development. In the Senate, It has been scheduled for debate 26 times, making it the longest-running bill under interpellation from Senators Tito Sotto, Manny Pacquiao and Joel Villanueva, since it’s sponsorship close to two years ago. 

It is time to end the debate. 

Brought up on the Christian values of love and acceptance, and as leaders and representatives of students in Catholic academic institutions , we urge the Senate’s leadership and its members to stop the delay on the SOGIE Equality Bill and move for its approval. 

We must forge a society ground ed on equality – NOW. 

Signed:

Reycel Hyacenth Bendaña
President, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Paaralang Loyola ng Ateneo de Manila
Ateneo de Manila University

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Mikee De Vega
President, University Student Government
De La Salle University-Manila

Kiko Santos
President, Central Student Council
University of Santo Tomas

Yhan Lumdang
President, Central Student Government
De La Salle – College of St. Benilde

Charlene Yanes
President, Sanggunian ng mga Mag-aaral ng Miriam
Miriam College

Denise Elayda
President, Student Council
St. Scholastica’s College-Manila

Arapat Mustapha
President, San Beda Student Council
San Beda University

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