Philippine president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, son of his namesake late dictator, may have mentioned various social issues that his year-old administration needs to tackle during his second State of the Nation Address (SONA), but LGBTQIA Filipinos were too-obviously absent even if they continue to experience “long-standing and continued discrimination and abuses”.
This was emphasized by Atty. Clara Rita Padilla, Executive Director of EnGendeRights, as she enumerated the numerous cases her organization has been receiving, including LGBTQIA people forced to leave their homes and schools due to abuses, difficulties in finding jobs, and discrimination by employers. All these “resulted in homelessness, joblessness, hunger, lack of savings lack of access to social security, health care and other government services.”
For Padilla, Marcos Jr.’s speech could have stated “his administration’s plans to address the violations of LGBTQIA people’s rights, and to provide expanded assistance to LGBTQIA people as they have suffered lifelong discrimination and abuses.”
Padilla particularly emphasized the need to pass the SOGIESC Equality Bill, the newest version of the Anti-Discrimination Bill that fails to pass Congress despite the lapse of over 24 years since the first anti-discrimination bill was first filed in 1999.
“Given the prevailing violations of rights of LGBTQIA people, and lack of respect for equality, diversity and inclusivity, (they) will continue to be marginalized and unable to access the government’s intended programs. Thus, we call on the president to uphold the rights of LGBTQIA people and certify the SOGIESC Equality Bill as a priority,” Padilla ended.