ASC’s Statement concerning progress of the SOGIE Equality Bill in the Philippines
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus welcomes the decision of the Philippines’ House of Representatives to approve the House Bill Number 4982 or “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) and Providing Penalties therefore” on September 20, 2017. The bill passed with a voting record of 198 – 0.
Shall it be enacted, the bill will provide protection for people with diverse SOGIE against various discriminatory acts such as denial of access to public services, refusing admission or expelling student in schools based on SOGIE, and harassment committed by persons involved in law enforcement. Further defined in the bill, those who are convicted of committing discrimination will be fined not less than P100,000 (USD2,000).
“The approval of the SOGIE Equality Bill is good news amidst serious human rights issues in the country”, said Ryan Silverio, Regional Coordinator of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus. “The overwhelming support of members of the House of Representatives indicates a major shift how Filipinos regard equality and non-discrimination. We hope that legislators especially at the Senate will sustain the change we desire, a Philippines that respect human rights of all persons regardless of SOGIE”.
The SOGIE Equality Bill is the first of its kind in the ASEAN countries. ASC hopes that this bill will set a trend in the region and inspire other ASEAN countries to take legislative measures toward promoting justice and human rights for all regardless SOGIE.