Lawmaker pushes for more gay rights

HOMOPHOBIA has put the lesbian and gay rights in the Philippines in the backseat, a lawmaker said Saturday.

Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan party-list, the principal author of House Bill 515, or the Act prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and providing penalties, noted that such homophobia is stirred by the fact that the country has no standing policy on human rights abuses against lesbians, gays bisexual and transgenders (LGBT).

“Here in the Philippines, you can fire a gay or lesbian employee simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity and get away with it. You can expel lesbian and gay students arbitrarily or impose arbitrary rules against them and you won’t face any charges. It’s wrong,” Bag-ao said.

Without any enabling law, Bag-ao noted that the constitutional rights and freedoms of LGBTs can be easily violated and discrimination against LGBTs goes unpunished.

“We are not saying that they should be given special rights, just basic fairness,” she pointed out.

Having said so, Bag-ao underscored that President Benigno Aquino 3rd could start changing this scheme by certifying the House Bill 515 as urgent.

“By standing up for equal rights, PNoy would send a strong signal against hatred and homophobia. It would mean that the government embraces universal human rights for all Filipinos, and not a single Filipino is left behind,” Bag-ao said in closing. ( - LLANESCA T. PANTI)


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