Cebu City creates council to protect LGBTQ community

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 19) — Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama signed an ordinance that recognizes the members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) community and creates a body that will protect them.

“This is timely because the City will now have a body that will help fight discrimination among the members of the LGBT,” Rama said in a statement on Thursday.

Known as SOGIESC (Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression, and Sex Characteristics) Pride Empowerment Council, the local government said the body’s main task is “to uphold basic human decency and penalize those who violate it.”

The council will create programs and initiatives anchored on the city’s gender and development plan, the local government said.

Apart from this, the council will also conduct an information drive to raise awareness on issues concerning the LGBTQ community, it added.

Meanwhile, penalties are set for various offenses done due to a person’s sexual orientation, including maliciously humiliating someone in public, inflicting physical harm on an individual; vexing, harassing, threatening, whether verbal or physical; and subjecting the individual to jokes, pranks, and humor.

Depending on the violation or the court’s discretion, offenders may face a minimum of three months to a maximum of six months in jail, with a fine ranging from P3,000 to ₱5,000.