More lawmakers express support for anti discrimination bill

Written by
  • Mhike R. C.
  • 6 years ago

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES – More than 150 fellow lawmakers of Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman have already expressed their support for the bill, “Anti SOGI (Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity) Discrimination Act.”

Congresswoman Roman was teary-eyed as she delivered her first privilege speech last Sept. 19 at the Plenary Hall here urging fellow lawmakers to finally pass the anti-discrimination bill into law.


The neophyte lawmaker, dubbed by a national paper columnist as “the fabulous Geraldine Roman,” is a co-author of this bill being repeatedly refiled in previous Congresses but remained in limbo for almost two decades. Its principal author Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao refiled the bill last July.


Roman started her speech with an emotional tribute to her late father, former Bataan 1st District Representative Antonino “Tony” Roman, Jr. who died in 2014 after years of battle with various illnesses. “Daddy, you would be glad to know that they have treated me with the dignity and respect that is due to all human beings,” added Roman, earning her applause from the gallery filled with advocates for the rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community and fellow lawmakers.


The House security personnel even failed to stop supporters from clapping their hands as she delivered her speech.


Roman mentioned reports of 164 cases of hate crimes against the LGBT community since 1996. “And yet there is no single office or even a desk within the DOJ (Department of Justice), the PNP (Philippine National Police), and the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) that documents and monitors such cases,” Roman lamented.


“My dear brother and sisters in the LGBT community, I want you to know that I am but one voice among many in this august chamber that says it is time: It is the time to pass the Anti-Discrimination Bill on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity. And the time is now!” Roman urged her colleagues.


Published reports stated that netizens not just in the Philippines but also from around the globe, dubbed Roman’s election win a “huge breakthrough” in a country where transgender people face widespread discrimination and violence.


Roman in an earlier interview after she won the local elections in Bataan said “the politics of bigotry, hatred and discrimination did not triumph. What triumphed was the politics of love, acceptance and respect.”

The anti-discrimination bill (ADB) wants to ensure equal treatment in the workplace, schools, commercial establishments and government offices but Roman stressed that it does not have any same-sex marriage provision.


Roman expressed in details the following situations that would be deemed as discrimination:

•Schools refusing to admit or expelling a student solely on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

•Imposing sanctions on students that are “harsher than the usual” on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity

•When a student or trainee is harassed, punished, or restricted due to sexual orientation or gender identity.

•Employers in both the private and public sector including sexual orientation or gender identity in the criteria for hiring, promoting, transferring, designating, assigning work, dismissing, reviewing the performance, training, and computing the compensation of employees


The bill would also prohibit commercial establishments from banning transgender individuals in their premises.


The bill states that violators would be penalized with at least one year up to 6 years jail time and a minimum fine of P100,000 up to P500,000.

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