Solon files SOGIESC equality bill

December 7, 2022 PS Jun M. Sarmiento 113 views

SENATOR Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday filed the “Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics” (SOGIESC) Equality bill, which mandates the State to address all forms of discrimination and violence based on SOGIESC.

“I am ecstatic that 19 of us colleagues in the Senate have come together to support the SOGIESC Bill. Sa isang araw lang, nahikayat natin sila na pumirma sa committee report. Mas lalo akong nabuhayan ng loob na sa Kongresong ito, maipapasa na sa wakas ang SOGIE bill,” Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros thanked her fellow senators, namely, Senate Minority Leader Koko Pimentel, Senator Sonny Angara, Senator Imee R. Marcos, Senator Cynthia Villar, Senator Nancy Binay, Senator Bato dela Rosa, Senator Grace Poe, Senator Mark Villar, Senator Francis Tolentino, Senator JV Ejercito, Senator Robinhood Padilla, Senator Raffy Tulfo, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Senator Lito Lapid, Senator Chiz Escudero, Senator Loren Legarda, Senator Bong Go, and Senator Bong Revilla, for their strong and immediate support to move the bill forward.

Some senators signed with reservations or stated that they will interpellate.

“The swiftness with which the committee report was signed and filed is surely a sign of good things to come. Umaasa ako na tuloy-tuloy na ang pag-usad ng bill na ito para ipakita at iparamdam na tunay na kasangga ng LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual) community ang ating Senado,” Hontiveros said.

The SOGIESC Equality bill prohibits discriminatory practices based on SOGIESC, such as refusing admission to or expelling a person from any educational or training institution, imposing disciplinary sanctions harsher than customary that infringe on the rights of students, and refusing or revoking the accreditation of organizations, groups, political parties, or institutions, among others.

The penalties include a fine of not less than P100,000 but not more than P250,000 or imprisonment of not less than one year but not more than six years.

The bill also penalizes those who deny a person access to emergency and/or necessary health services on the basis of the person’s SOGIESC.

“Isa sa pinakamahalagang ginagawa ng SOGIESC bill ay pagsigurado na ang bawat Pilipino, kahit anuman ang kasarian, ay makakatanggap ng karampatang serbisyong-medikal kapag kinakailangan. Nakapanlulumo ang mga kuwento ng mga miyembro ng LGBTQIA na pinagkakaitan ng medical services dahil lang sa kanilang kasarian. This is flat out discrimination,” Hontiveros said.

Those who refuse medical and health services based on SOGIESC can be penalized with a fine of not less than P100,000, but not more than P300,000, or imprisonment of not less than six months, but not more than two years and four months.

The SOGIESC Bill also explicitly states that nothing in the law should be interpreted to disturb the exercise of parental authority or academic freedom.

“The SOGIESC Bill’s message is clear: our country should not tolerate any act of discrimination. Buhay at hanapbuhay ang ipinagkakait natin sa mga miyembro ng LGBTQIA+ nang dahil lang sa mga paniniwala at tradisyong kailangang iwasto. 2022 na, our laws should reflect the realities of our culture,” Hontiveros concluded.