27 July 2016

#EqualityChamps convene for the Anti-Discrimination Bill

Today, legislators of the 17th Congress, dubbed as the #EqualityChamps, met with advocates from various civil society organizations to discuss the renewed campaign for the enactment of the Anti-Discrimination Bill, which seeks to prohibit discrimination against citizens on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Present were authors and co-authors of the measure—Senator Risa Hontiveros, Dinagat Islands Rep. Kaka Bag-ao, Batanes Rep. Henedina Abad, Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, Pangasinan Rep. Toff de Venecia, and An Waray Party-List Rep. Victoria Noel. Joining them were advocacy groups that have assisted legislators in past Congresses in fighting for the bill in committee debates; they include the Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network (LAGABLAB), TLF-SHARE, Babaylanes, Inc., UP Babaylan, GALANG, Akbayan LGBT Collective, Dangal Pilipinas, Amnesty International, Assocition of Transgender People in the Philippines (ATP), OutRight Action International, and Rainbow Rights. Commissioner Perci CendaƱa of the National Youth Commission (NYC) facilitated the discussion.

Bag-ao is the principal author of the bill in the House of Representatives. Roman and Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat also filed their own similar versions. Hontiveros recently filed her Anti-Discrimination Bill in the Senate.

“We feel very re-energized now that we are going to begin our 17th Congress campaign. With new blood in the House like Geraldine and Toff, we are excited about the fresh ideas we can get in order to strengthen our push for this very important measure,” said Bag-ao.

The bill was shelved in the 16th Congress. It was already approved by the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality in February 2015, but failed to be tackled on the floor of the plenary.

“We will never give up on the Anti-Discrimination Bill. We will never give up on the basic rights of Filipinos regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity. We, the #EqualityChamps, will increase our numbers in Congress and beyond our halls through the different groups and individuals supporting this long overdue measure,” she added. 

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