10 February 2015

Rep. Bag-ao: Passage of Anti-Discrimination Bill is a victory for all citizens

The House of Representatives Committee on Women and Gender Equality recently approved the proposed Anti-Discrimination Bill, which seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity while providing penalties for such acts.

The bill was first filed by then Akbayan Party-List Representative and now Commission on Human Rights Chairperson Loretta Ann Rosales in the 11th Congress. Since then, it has been refiled and shelved by the Legislature in the midst of the growing clamor for its passage.

Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, the principal author of the measure, said that "this is not only a triumph for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, but for all Filipinos because the Anti-Discrimination Bill will protect the rights of each and every citizen regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity." 

Those opposed to the bill claim that it gives way to same-sex marriage. However, according to Rep. Bag-ao, "they are mistaken."

"They must read and understand the bill carefully. Nothing in the bill grants recognition to same-sex marriage," she added.

"This important and long overdue measure simply seeks to protect basic rights of citizens. It does not ask for special rights," said Rep. Bag-ao

"We are confident that the public support for the bill will grow stronger," said Rep. Bag-ao, citing the recently released Social Weather Stations report saying that 85% of adult Filipinos believe that gays and lesbians have the right to protection against discrimination. 

"Our adamant desire for the enactment of the Anti-Discrimination Bill comes from our resolve to heed the clamor of the Filipino people. The debate has long been over," ended Bag-ao.

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