Another lawmaker pushes SOGIE bill


Another lawmaker pushes SOGIE bill

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) – August 18, 2019 – 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Another lawmaker is now pushing for the passage of a Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Orientation Equality (SOGIE) bill amid the controversy over the alleged discrimination experienced by transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez in a shopping mall in Quezon City last Tuesday.

Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones said the incident highlighted the need for the passage of such measure as she recently re-filed her version of the SOGIE bill that was already passed by the House of Representatives in the previous Congress.

“Discrimination and abuse is everywhere and will continue unabated unless we do more to encourage society to accept and understand members of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, intersex, asexual) community,” Aragones stressed yesterday.

Her House Bill No. 2211, a refiled version of her House Bill No.1854 in the 17th Congress, seeks to provide safeguards against discrimination and abusive acts against LGBTQIA+ members.

Section 4 of the bill, for instance, punishes persons or institutions that physically and emotionally abuse and discriminate against members of the LGBTQIA+ community by denying them access to public and private services and the use of establishments because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. 

Aragones, a journalist before joining Congress, explained that a law is necessary to address the discrimination against the community as local ordinances against discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression cover only 15 percent of the national population.

“A law covering the entire country is needed to discourage and prevent abuses of members of the LGBTQIA+ community from Appari to Jolo,” she argued.

“There can be no true equality if the country will continue to tolerate and turn a blind eye to the abuses against the LGBTQIA+ community,” Aragones added.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman had also refiled her version of the SOGIE bill, vowing to work for its enactment this time.

To recall, the House plenary unanimously passed the SOGIE bill or HB 4982 in September 2017. But it failed to become a law after the Senate failed to pass its version of the measure before the 17th Congress ended earlier this year.

Roman, the first transgender woman elected to the Congress, also called for a House inquiry into the incident.

Diez was blocked by a janitress from using the female restroom at Farmers Market in Cubao on Tuesday.

She was brought handcuffed to the mall’s security office when she tried to take a video of the incident.

Diez was later brought to the Cubao police station and then to the Quezon City Police District’s Anti-Cybercrime Division in Camp Karingal for taking the video without permission.

Mall authorities filed an unjust vexation complaint against her for supposedly recording her confrontation with the janitress.

The charges against her were dropped, but Diez filed a complaint against the mall officials for violating Quezon City’s gender fair ordinance, which prohibits gender-based discrimination at business establishments. – With Cecille Suerte Felipe, Jose Rodel Clapano