Press Release
November 17, 2016

STAYING FOCUSED: Villanueva bats for LGBT rights

Staying focused on important issues, Senator Joel Villanueva has strongly expressed his support on the Anti-Discrimination Act that aims to protect the civil rights and legal privileges of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).

The senator, who is also the son of Jesus Is Lord founder Bro. Eddie Villanueva, has co-authored Senate Bill No. 935 or the Anti-Discrimination Act filed by Senator Risa Hontiveros.

Villanueva said he believes members of LGBT community have the same basic rights that all other citizens possess and enjoy.

"One cannot deny that cases of discrimination against the LGBT community exist. We hear stories of prejudice in the workplace, schools, hospitals, and other establishments and institutions. Hence, we felt the need to push for protective laws and policies that would prevent discrimination and human rights abuses against this vulnerable sector of our society," Villanueva said.

The Christian senator even quoted the Bible to say that "everyone, regardless of age, gender, status, ethnicity or belief --and that includes the LGBT group--is entitled to basic human rights because according to Romans 2:11, there is no partiality with God," he said.

Since 1996, only 164 cases of hate crime have been recorded, which reflects high level of neglect on documenting and monitoring hate crimes against LGBT. Moreover, reports on human rights abuses submitted by the Philippines to the United Nations Human Rights Council mirror the prevailing indifference on human rights issues being faced by Filipino LGBT community.

Under the proposed bill, discriminatory practices include: the promotion and encouragement of stigma on the basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) in the media and educational institutions; the need for disclosing sexual orientation in the criteria for hiring and other human resource actions in the workplace; the non-admission or expulsion from any education or training institution on the basis of SOGIE; the denial of access to health services and public establishments and facilities; among others.

If passed into law, the bill proposes the granting of penalties ranging from Php100,000 to Php500,000 and imprisonment ranging from one year to 12 years for those who will be caught in violation of the said law.

The proposed law also mandates the inclusion of SOGIE concerns in all police stations granted that those who will be handling the complaints have undergone trainings on human rights and SOGIE, gender sensitivity and awareness, and sensitization on the issue of violence and abuse on the basis of SOGIE.

In addition to that, the Civil Service Commission is tapped to establish a grievance mechanism to address discriminatory practices committed by officers and employees of government agencies, while the Commission on Human Rights shall investigate and recommend the filing of a complaint against any person/s violating the said Act.

An Anti-Discrimination Oversight Committee will also be created which shall monitor the compliance of public institutions to the law provisions and audit national and local policies that discriminate on the basis of SOGIE.

"It is high time for us to pass a law that will afford legal protection to those who have long suffered discrimination. It is through this law where we can uphold the duty of the State to respect, protect and preserve the rights and dignity of every individual," Villanueva said.

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