Statement on the Outcome of the UPR of Philippines
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus welcomes the openness of the Philippine government to engage on LGBTIQ human rights issues during the Third Cycle of the UPR. For the first time, the government dedicated a section in its national report on developments related to LGBTIQ issues since the Second Cycle. We take note of the government’s statement to the UN Human Rights Council back in May 8, 2017: “The Duterte Administration has vowed to integrate the human rights agenda in its development initiatives to protect all, especially the most vulnerable sectors, including but not limited to, the indigenous people, children, women, migrant workers, elderly, domestic workers, persons with disabilities, farmers, laborers and members of the LGBT community."
Since then, some positive steps have been made. In June 2017, the Department of Education issued a Gender-responsive Basic Education Policy which aims to integrate gender, sexuality, and human rights into the basic education curriculum, with the potential of helping eradicate stereotypes against LGBTIQ persons. In August 2017, the Quezon City Police engaged LGBTIQ defenders and high-ranking police officials in a dialogue towards developing an LGBTIQ-affirmative policy guidelines. In September 2017, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the SOGIE Equality Bill with a vote of 198-0.
We remain concerned about the absence of a national legislation to protect LGBTIQ persons from discrimination and violence, and efforts by some legislators to obstruct the passage of anti-discrimination bills in the Senate. And while there are more than 20 local government units that have anti-discrimination ordinances, only one has corresponding Implementing Rules and Regulations to make it enforceable.
We remain concerned that education institutions, including some state universities, continue to enforce restrictive policies on uniforms that effectively ban transgender students’ access to education. We note that social protection programs such as socialized housing and health services still discriminate same-sex partners and their identified dependents. We note also many incidents of LGBTIQ persons barred or refused services by public facilities and establishments.
We reiterate our key recommendations to the Philippine government:
Speed up the legislation of a national anti-discrimination law to protect LGBTIQ persons from discrimination;
Strengthen social protection and social service programs, such as health, housing, and social security, to make them inclusive of, and accessible to LGBTIQ persons from marginalized sectors and communities;
Strengthen redress mechanisms and ensure that police officers and local law enforcement officials are sensitive in handling cases of discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ persons;
Ensure that labor policies are inclusive, explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender-identity, and promote LGBTIQ-affirmative workplaces.
We thank the governments of Australia, Mexico and Slovenia for issuing SOGIESC-specific recommendations and advanced questions. We note with appreciation that the Philippine’s accepted one of these recommendations.
Furthermore, we express our warmest gratitude to the various Filipino LGBTIQ organizations and individual activists who have been actively involved in the UPR process.
Download a copy of the UPR Submission of LGBTIQ groups from the Philippines here: UPR Reports