While welcoming the move of the Philippines’ current president, Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., to create a special committee on LGBTQIA affairs via Executive Order 51, LGBTQIA organization Bahaghari called the move “insufficient and imprecise”.
Marcos, the namesake of a former dictator, reorganized 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.
“We welcome any legislative measures in support of LGBTQIA rights, including EO 51, which creates a Special Committee on LGBTQI Affairs. However, we must make it clear that while this move is appreciated, it is insufficient and imprecise. Hindi po komite o espesyal na grupo ang kailangan ng LGBT. Ang kailangan po natin at napakatagal na nating malinaw na hinihingi ay ang SOGIE Equality Bill: isang kongkretong batas na magpoprotekta sa lahat ng Pilipino laban sa diskriminasyon batay sa kasarian,” the organization stated.
Bahaghari similarly expressed caution when dealing with “flip-flopping trapo (traditional politician) tactics. We have seen this during Duterte’s administration, where he claimed to support the SOGIE Equality Bill then immediately switched positions, instead issuing a toothless Executive Order which ordinary Filipinos do not feel the impact of. Marcos’ EO 51 is merely an amendment to the previous EO by Duterte, and it is our fear that it would yet again be a tokenistic, backhanded show of support for the LGBTQI community.”
For the LGBTQIA organization, a more impactful move from Marcos would have been to publicly voice his position on the SOGIE Equality Bill, the latest version of the anti-discrimination bill that has been pending in Congress for over 20 years already. This is because for Bahaghari, this “could have easily been passed into law within a month if he made it his legislative priority and certified it as urgent. Kailangang magsalita nang malinaw si Marcos kung ano ang tingin niya sa marriage equality, sa gender recognition, at maging sa mga pang-araw-araw na isyu ng ordinaryong LGBT at mamamayan gaya ng dagdag-sahod, regularisasyon sa trabaho, at ang nangyayaring jeepney phaseout.”