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Anti-discrimination bill faces rough sailing in Senate

Already under fire for alleged plagiarism for his speech attacking the Reproductive Health (RH) bill, senator and actor Tito Sotto is now the target of criticism from the country’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. According to reports, Sotto is demanding the removal of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) provisions from a bill protecting minorities.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

2nd September 2012 00:40

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

The Progressive Organization of Gays (ProGay Philippines) protested reports that Sotto is working to remove protections for LGBTs from the proposed Anti-Racial, Ethnic and Anti-Religious Discrimination Act of 2011. The alleged position was reported by Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Brawner Baguilat Jr., a member of the House of Representatives that crafted a version that will be reconciled with the Senate version in a bicameral conference. Baguilat did not name other senators who were supposedly opposed to sexual orientation and gender identity provisions.

Baguilat, the chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Communities, said the senators may agree not to include such provisions just to ensure the passage of the bill into law. He named Sotto as one of the senators against the inclusion of LGBT provisions. Baguilat’s own proposal seeks to penalize the profiling and acts of discrimination hurled against persons on account of ethnic origin and religious affiliation and belief, but some provisions on LGBT rights have been included. It was approved by the Lower House on August 3, 2011. The bill was immediately transmitted to the Senate which got the House-approved measure the following August 10. Other authors include Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap and Sulu Rep. Tupay Loong.

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