SOGIE bill 'not a priority,' says Villanueva

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 6) — Majority Leader and newly-assigned Senate caretaker Sen. Joel Villanueva said the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) bill is not considered a priority measure.

"I don't see any urgency for that particular measure," Villanueva said Tuesday. "I don't know why, who is following it up, or saying that it is a priority measure because it is not a priority measure to begin with."

Villanueva said there are other urgent bills in the Senate such as the Philippine Salt Industry Development Act. He also previously accused SOGIE bill advocates of promoting legalization of same-sex marriage in the country.

READ: Villanueva accuses SOGIE bill advocates of same-sex marriage agenda

The senator argued that the bill only protects one sector of the society.

On May 24, The House Committee on Women and Gender Equality approved the SOGIESC bill. Gabriela Party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said the report consolidated House Bills No. 222, 460, 3418, 3702, 4277, 5551, 6003, and 7036, and other measures seeking to ban discrimination of people on the basis of their SOGIESC.

The first anti-discrimination bill was filed at the 11th Congress by late Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Akbayan Rep. Etta Rosales.

The bill reached third reading in 2017 but it languished in the Senate for three years. Sen. Risa Hontiveros filed the bill anew in 2020 labeling it SOGIE.

The SOGIESC bill has been pending in Villanueva's committee on rules for about four months now.

READ: 'Tatalima pero di tatahimik': Hontiveros loses in SOGIE bill tug of war