Vice President Sara Duterte expressed her personal support for the passage of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Equality Bill that has been pending in Congress for over 20 years now, saying that she is among those backing and even advocating this in the government.
“While we wait patiently for the passage of the SOGIESC bill, what I would say on this is that good things take time,” Duterte said, adding that “we have advocates in the government, including me, in your dream for a law for protection.”
This May, the committee on women and gender equality in the House of Representatives approved the consolidated bill that combined multiple similar measures aimed at eliminating discrimination based on SOGIESC.
But the version in the Upper House/Senate was stalled by religious Sen. Joel Villanueva, son of pastor cum politician Rep. Eddie Villanueva, who sees the protection of LGBTQIA people as a “special right”.
Isang makabuluhang pagtitipon ang naganap ngayong umaga kasama ang ating mga kaibigan na mga miyembro ng Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex (LGBTQI+) para sa kauna-unahang Pride Reception ng Office of the Vice President. pic.twitter.com/n8dLQBJcU7
— Sara Duterte (@indaysara) June 16, 2023
For Duterte, the LGBTQIA community continues to face challenges – e.g. limited livelihood opportunities.
“LGBTQI+ people already face enough obstacles on their own, but to sustain their enterprises and expand their businesses, they are far more likely to encounter issues that are specific to underserved and marginalized groups,” Duterte said. “Our LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to systemic discrimination. They experience obstacles when attempting to access funds, licenses, produce sales, hire staff, or obtain insurance, in addition to not feeling safe going out or exploring business prospects consistent with their identity.”
Here, Duterte’s office has the “Mag Negosyo ‘Ta Day” initiative to provide entrepreneurial programs for members of marginalized communities, including those from the LGBTQIA community.