Real pro-LGBTQIA initiative, or pinkwashing exemplified?
The country’s current President, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., namesake of the former dictator, issued an executive order, EO No. 51, which reorganizes the inter-agency committee on diversity and inclusion that was part of the Diversity and Inclusion Program (DIP) of the administration of former Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte. This is supposed to pave the way for the creation of a special panel on LGBTQIA+ affairs.
In explaining the EO, Marcos said that “there is a need to reinforce the DIP and reconstitute the Inter-Agency Committee to ensure the country’s continuous compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which mandates States Parties to respect and ensure to all individuals within its territory the rights recognized therein, without distinction of any kind.”
The LGBTQIA+ affairs special committee is tasked to “strengthen existing mechanisms to address the continued discrimination being experienced by the members of the LGBTQIA+ community.” This is also supposed to provide the Filipino LGBTQIA+ community an avenue to participate in policy formation even if there is still no recognized body solely dedicated to promote their concerns.
Marcos made no mention of the continuing absence of a national anti-discrimination law that would protect the human rights of LGBTQIA+ Filipinos. Various iterations of the Anti-discrimination Bill has been pending in Congress for 24 years already.
The inter-agency panel is mandated to submit to Marcos – not directly, but, adding another bureaucratic layer, through the Office of the Executive Secretary – diversity and inclusion program within six months from the effectivity of EO No. 51.
Expected to assist the inter-agency panel will be an LGBTQIA+ special committee. With this one, Marcos will have power to appoint four people supposed to come from “reputable organizations representing the LGBTQIA+ community.” This committee will be headed by a chairperson (with the rank of undersecretary), with three members (with the rank of assistant secretary).
And yet again, this committee will include ex-officio member representatives from the DMW, DOLE, and DepEd, all will have a rank not lower than an Assistant Secretary or its equivalent.
This LGBTQIA+ special committee is similarly expected to:
- recommend to the Office of the President measures that to bolster existing programs and initiatives geared toward addressing the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community; and
- coordinate with concerned government agencies to ensure the availability of LGBTQIA+ data for the purpose of evidence-based policy-making.