Local authorities in Angeles, a city north of Manila in the Philippines, passed a historic law yesterday that bans discrimination against LGBT residents.
'I want Angeles City to be the most sensitive city and local government in the Philippines to gender equality and gay rights,' said Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan in 2011.
With the support of four other city councillors, Mayor Pamintuan passed the Anti Discrimination Ordinance (Prohibiting Any Acts of Discrimination within the City of Angeles on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) yesterday, after years of lobbying from local LGBT rights groups including the United Gay Power Movement (UGPM).
The passing of the law gives LGBT rights campaigners hope that a national Anti-Discrimination Bill, which has stalled in Congress for 13 years, may be passed.
The congressman who filed the bill, Teddy Casiño, is standing for election to the Senate this year. If he wins a seat he can help pass the law. Progay Philippines' Jomar Amores said Casiño presence in the upper house 'can boost the chances of the bill's passage against opposition from conservative groups'.
The Anti-Discrimination Bill is the main priority of Ladlad, the world's only political party solely dedicated to LGBT issues, who are standing for Congress in May's election.
In an interview with Gay Star News last November, Ladlad's congressional nominee Bemz Benedito said that every day they receive three to five complaints from LGBT people sharing their experiences of discrimination by educational institutions, employers or in public.
Benedito said she is standing for election because of her frustration at being powerless to do fight against the discrimination, because there is no law that says it is wrong to deny a person services because of their sexual orientation, for example.