The Philippines Congress voted unanimously to pass a bill that protects LGBTI people from discrimination.
Impressively, the Congress voted 197-0 to pass the SOGIE Equality Act on its third and final reading on Wednesday. SOGIE stands for sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Bill was introduced a little over a year ago by the Philippines first trans congresswoman, Geraldine Roman. It will now go to the Senate for a vote.
— Geraldine Roman (@geraldinebroman) September 20, 2017
‘Although it is claimed the Philippine society is tolerant and accepting of members of the LGBT community, in practice and in terms of legal protection, they (sic) are no specific national laws that address this kind of discrimination from which this sector of society suffers,’ Roman wrote in the Bill’s explanatory note.
A range of discriminatory acts will carry a fine of between P100,000 to P500,000 (US$1958 to US$9793) or imprisonment between one and six years.
Just some of the many discriminatory acts include; denial of access to public services, hiring and dismissal in the workplace, access to education or expulsion of students, harrassment by law enforcement and outing someone without consent.
Ryan Silverio is the Regional Coordinator of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus. He said the overwhelming support in parliament showed how attitudes towards the LGBTI community were changing in the Philippines.
— Ryan Silverio🌈 (@queeringryan) September 20, 2017
‘The approval of the SOGIE Equality Bill is good news amidst serious human rights issues in the country,’ he told Gay Star News.
‘The overwhelming support of members of the House of Representatives indicates a major shift how Filipinos regard equality and non-discrimination.
‘We hope that legislators especially at the Senate will sustain the change we desire, a Philippines that respect human rights of all persons regardless of SOGIE.’