Majority of the country’s senators supported a Senate report recommending the passage of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics, or the SOGIESC Equality bill.
“I am ecstatic that 19 of us colleagues in the Senate have come together to support the SOGIESC Bill,” said Senator Risa Hontiveros in a statement on December 7.
“In just one day, we persuaded them to sign the committee report,” added the opposition legislator. “I am even more encouraged that in this Congress, the SOGIE bill will finally be passed,” she said.
In the 18th Congress, only eight senators signed the committee report.
“The swiftness with which the committee report was signed and filed is surely a sign of good things to come,” said Hontiveros.
“I am hopeful that this bill can continue to move forward to show that our Senate is a true supporter of the LGBTQIA+ community,” she added.
The SOGIESC Equality bill mandates the State to address all forms of discrimination and violence on the basis of SOGIESC.
The proposed measure also states that nothing in the law should be interpreted to disturb the exercise of parental authority or academic freedom.
“One of the most important things that the SOGIESC bill does is to ensure that every Filipino, regardless of gender, can receive competent medical services when needed,” said Hontiveros.
“The stories of LGBTQIA members who are denied medical services simply because of their gender are heartbreaking. This is flat out discrimination,” she said.
“The SOGIESC Bill’s message is clear: our country should not tolerate any act of discrimination,” said the legislator.
Several versions of the SOGIE Equality Bill include a provision on the “responsibility to promote a non-discrimination and equal opportunity environment” for all persons and in all settings, particularly schools.
The proposed bill also tasks the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education to promote “understanding and appreciation of cultural diversity, racial harmony and non-discrimination in schools and other learning modalities, and ensure that books, reference materials and other learning resources used in education programs, including those that portray indigenous peoples or discuss religious practices, are free from discriminatory content.”
The SOGIE Equality Bill also tasks the whole of government and society, including educational institutions, to “develop and implement information dissemination on any of the prohibited forms of discrimination.”