Hontiveros: 'Sheer numbness' to say SOGIESC bill not urgent

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 7) — Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday said it was "sheer numbness" for Majority Leader Joel Villanueva to say the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) equality bill is not considered an urgent measure.

READ: SOGIE bill 'not a priority,' says Villanueva

"Bigyan natin ng hustisya ang ating mga kababayang hindi malayang nakakapamuhay dahil lang sa kasarian nila. Paulit-ulit sa balita ang mga mag-aaral na nabu-bully dahil sa kanilang Sogie, mga napagkakaitan ng serbisyong medikal, at hindi nakakakuha ng ganap na benepisyo sa trabaho dahil sa diskriminasyon," Hontiveros said.

[Translation: Let's give justice to our countrymen who are not able to live freely just because of their gender. Students who are bullied because of their Sogie, denied medical services, and denied full employment benefits due to discrimination are repeatedly in the news.]

Villanueva, on the other hand, clarified that he is not against giving LGBTQIA+ community equal rights, but he wants to push for a "holistic and inclusive" anti-discrimination bill that will cover all sectors of the society.

"Who wants to be discriminated? Discrimination is pure evil. Let's extend this right against discrimination to all sectors," he said, claiming that the bill only protects a certain group.

The SOGIESC equality bill mandates the government to address discrimination and violence based on people's SOGIESC.

In 2019, the bill failed to hurdle Congress due to opposition from conservative lawmakers. Hontiveros reintroduced the SOGIESC equality bill in the Senate in 2020.

The bill was supposed to be sponsored in the plenary but was reverted to Villanueva's committee on rules due to opposition from religious groups.

Pointing out that the bill has been languishing in Congress for over two decades, Hontiveros said she expects it to go through proper legislative process in accordance with Senate rules.