RAINBOW PRIDE ARRIVES IN SAN JUAN CITY.
The City of San Juan in Metro Manila is the newest addition to local government units (LGUs) in the Philippines with an ordinance that declares it unlawful to discriminate against LGBT people.
City Ordinance No. 55 was the brainchild of Vice Mayor Janella Ejercito Estrada and was sponsored by Councilor Mary Joy Ibuna-Leoy; it was approved on third and final reading after it was co-authored by all the city councilors and was passed unanimously. It now awaits the signature of the city’s mayor, Guia Gomez.
More recently, a SOGIE Equality Bill also passed the House of Representatives that could finally pave the way for a national law that will protect the rights of LGBT Filipinos. The landmark bill now awaits a counterpart version in the Senate.
But according to transwoman Dindi Tan, Secretary-General of LGBT Pilipinas, which helped develop and lobby for the ordinance, it is “taking a while for a national law to get passed (to prohibit discrimination against LGBT people). Sadly, discrimination and violence still happen everyday especially in the grassroots. So should we wait for a national law to get approved before we treat cases of abuse? Realizing that our SOGIE protection bill won’t sail smoothly in the Senate, we need to keep moving. Besides, these local anti-discrimination policies do not run counter to the content of the proposed national law. Until there is an enacted national policy, local policies of the same nature must be reinforced.”
Noticeably, the ADO is not exclusive to LGBT people, but is also for those who may experience discrimination based on: race, disability, ethnicity and religious affiliation.
Much like the other ADOs, San Juan’s also 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 up to P3,000, or both, depending on the discretion of a court.