Mindanao Times

Only 4 LGUs in Mindanao pass pro-LGBT ordinances


GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews) – Only two of Mindanao’s 27 provinces and also two of its 33 cities have antidiscri­mination ordinances that offer protection and encourage respect for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgende­r (LGBT) population­s in the Philippine­s, a non-government organizati­on disclosed Monday.

Chi Laigo-Vallido, di

rector for programs and advocacy of the Forum for Family Planning and Developmen­t, said the provinces of Agusan del Norte and Dinagat Islands and the cities of Davao and Butuan have ordinances that uphold the rights of LGBTs.

But the good efforts of local government units (LGU) towards LGBTs have yet to ascend into a national commitment, Vallido said in a statement.

She cited the pending SOGIE (sexual orientatio­n and gender identity and expression) equality bill or the anti-discrimina­tion bill that Congress has yet to pass. The measure intends to prevent acts of discrimina­tion based on people’s sexual orientatio­n and gender identity and expression.

She took to task President Duterte to lead the national commitment, while scoring him for “poor tolerance” against the LGBT community.

“For a leader who once headed a city (Davao) who has a gender and developmen­t code since 1997 and started pioneering strategies in integratin­g gender and developmen­t in various LGU programs, I am saddened that President Duterte is himself the one who does not support the country’s growing maturity towards sexual diversity,” Vallido said.

She noted that Duterte has faltered in his statements for LGBTs and same-sex unions, and most recently, has again invoked homosexual­ity to insult and imply weakness on his political rivals and critics, including communist rebels and Catholic priests.

He also said being “gay” can be cured. Duterte claimed that arch critic Senator Antonio Trillanes IV is gay.

The LGBT is celebratin­g June as the Pride Month.

In Luzon, the LGUs that have pro-LGBT ordinances are Cavite province and the cities of Angeles, Antipolo, Baguio, Batangas, Candon, Dagupan, Mandaluyon­g, Puerto Princesa, Quezon and Vigan.

In the Visayas region, ordinances are being implemente­d in Iloilo province and the cities of Bacolod and Cebu.

Beyond the recognitio­n of the June celebratio­n of Pride Month and the fun parades in various parts of the country, Vallido said that it is time to step up for the welfare of LGBTs who have unique reproducti­ve and health needs.

“They must be equal before our laws and must be able to access opportunit­ies and services among others just like any and all Filipinos,” she said.

Apart from LGBT police help desks, there is also an anti-bullying law that Congress passed in 2013 that included protection for LGBTs and child protection policies covering LGBT children and youth.

The Philippine­s is also a signatory to various internatio­nal covenants promoting human rights under the United Nations. Recently, the World Health Organizati­on had removed transgende­r in its classifica­tion of mental disorders and calls it a legitimate sexual orientatio­n.

The Philippine­s is praised for being one of the most gay-friendly nations, ranking 10th in a 2014 Pew Research Center survey of 39 countries, that are accepting of sexual orientatio­ns and gender minorities.

But Vallido said there are still areas that stigmatize and disadvanta­ge LGBTs.

She called attention to the situation of many LGBTs living with HIV who face discrimina­tion when accessing health services, public places and facilities or wanting to go to school or wishing to work.

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