Press Release
September 4, 2019


"Ang gusto lang naman natin ay pantay-pantay na pagtrato, magkakaiba man ang paniniwala." This was the statement of Akbayan Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday as she convened LGBT advocates and faith-based organizations on Wednesday to settle differences on the SOGIE Equality Bill.

"Let's talk. Mabuti nang mas personal na napag-uusapan. Nandito tayo ngayon para makinig sa isa't-isa, unawain ang isa't-isa, at maging bukas sa isa't isa," Hontiveros, chairperson of the Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality, said to opposing sides in her opening statement during the second hearing of Senate Bills No. 159, 412, and 689. Said bills seek to penalize discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression or SOGIE.

Addressing pro-family and pro-life organizations that expressed opposition to the bill, the Akbayan Senator said that the SOGIE Equality Bill will 'take into consideration religious and faith-based sensitivities'. "We are here to work together," she said.

"Let's remind ourselves of our unities: we are all against any form of discrimination, that we want what is best for each other, and we want to preserve our values and the Filipino family," she said. "We are here to hear all sides, and to better the SOGIE Equality Bill," she added.

The Akbayan Senator also renewed her call to end discrimination based on one's SOGIE.

"Hindi natin made-deny na may mga nangyayaring diskriminasyon na natatanggap ang mga LGBT araw-araw. Let's start with that," she said. "How do we protect LGBT persons from discrimination without violating our religious and academic freedoms?" she asked.

Hontiveros also expressed concern on heated discussions online that cross to outright condemnation of LGBT persons. "As a mother, I cannot accept this hate rhetoric," she remarked.

"Ang mga sinasabi natin online at sa hearing na ito, nababasa at napapakinggan ng mga anak natin, ng mga batang LGBT, ng mga indibidwal na takot maging out. Is this the message we want to tell them?" Hontiveros furthered.

"Let's talk knowing our children are listening," she concluded.

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