A Christian leader in the Philippines has expressed reservations over the creation of a specialized working group to tackle discrimination in eight Filipino laws.
The Philippines’ House Committee on Human Rights approved the creation of the group to ‘harmonize eight bills seeking to prohibit discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expressions, language, disability, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) status, and other status’.
Biblemode International (Bible Believers’ League for Morality and Democracy International) chairman Pastor Benny Abante, Jr. is a former House member and chairman of the House committee on human rights.
Biblemode International is a socio-civic, socio-political organization that represents more than 6,000 Bible-believing Baptist Churches in the Philippines and abroad.
Abante expressed reservations over the inclusion of the LGBT community and the sexual orientation and gender identity and expression clause in the proposal.
Abante argued he was not ‘condemning LGBTI’ people but believed in the rights of women and children and of religion as natural rights.
According to Abante, LGBT rights are ‘special rights’ whose further protection is no longer needed since these are already safeguarded in the Constitution under the equal protection clause.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Legal, Legislative and Linkages supported the move.
‘It is high time that a legislative measure is put in place,’ said CHR lawyer Eunice Sta. Maria.
‘Since basic human rights are not only enshrined in the Constitution, but also embodied in several treaties and conventions which the country is a signatory to.
Committee member Evelina Escudero said the provisions of her proposed ‘Anti-Religious and Ethnic Stereotyping Act’ seek to protect the rights of Filipinos against discrimination arising from race, religion and ethnicity.
‘Under the bill, there should be no discriminatory treatment on the basis of one’s religion or ethnicity, and there should not be any stereotyping or profiling of any person especially when they apply for work,’ she said.