Santos-Recto’s LGBT protection bill hurdles House committee
A bill seeking to establish police desks for the protection of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community hurdled the committee level at the House of Representatives.
This after the House committee on public order and safety approved House Bill 2952 seeking to establish LGBT help and protection desks in Philippine National Police (PNP) stations nationwide.
The committee chaired by Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop approved the bill authored by the “Star for all Seasons,” actress and Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto.
According to Santos-Recto’s bill, these LGBT police desks would act on all cases involving crimes against chastity or sexual harassment committed against the LGBT community.
Santos-Recto also mandated the PNP to ensure the gender neutrality of its human resources – in the recruitment of police, as well as promotion and deployment of police officers.
“Ultimately, this bill seeks to create a police organization that is able and eager to respond to any criminal or emergency incident, regardless of the gender orientation of the people involved,” Santos-Recto said in her bill.
Earlier, the House committee in a hearing agreed with the National Police Commission (Napolcom) that instead of a law, a memorandum order or resolution to all PNP stations should suffice to establish LGBT protection desks.
But Santos-Recto argued during the next hearing that the creation of LGBT protection desks by amending the law – Republic Act 8551 or the PNP Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998 – would provide long-term protection to the LGBT sector.
“Coming up with a memorandum order with a resolution is good because this will provide urgent response to the discrimination problem faced by the LGBTs. But we have to think long-term,” Santos-Recto said.
“I hope this becomes permanent through a law not only through a resolution. I hope this committee will support this endeavor,” she added.
The bill seeks to amend Title VII of Republic Act 8551 into the “Creation of Women’s, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Desks in All Police Stations and the Formulation of a Gender Sensitivity Program.”
Police Senior Superintendent Walter Castillejos earlier told the House committee said that the existing women’s desks of the police already act on gender-based complaints, proposing instead to rename these protection desks as “women, children and gender rights desk” to include LGBT concerns.
Santos-Recto’s bill seeks to amend Section 57 of RA 8551 to read: “The PNP shall establish women’s and LGBT desks in all police stations throughout the country to administer and attend to cases involving crimes against chastity, sexual harassment, and abuses committed against women, children and LGBT and other similar offenses.”
The bill also amends Section 58 of RA 8551 to read: “Within the next five years, the PNP shall prioritize the recruitment and training of women who shall serve in the women’s desk.”
The bill would require the PNP to reserve 10 percent of its recruitment, training, and education quote for women, and prohibit the police from discriminating against the LGBT in the police force.
“Nothing in this Title shall be construed as a restriction from recruiting LGBT into the PNP regular force, either through regular recruitment or lateral entry program,” the bill read.
The bill also sought to amend Section 61 to read: “Nothing in this title shall be construed as a restriction on the assignment of policewomen and LGBT police officers to other positions in the PNP nor shall any provision of this title be used for the non-promotion of a PNP female or LGBT personnel to higher position.”
Earlier, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez expressed his desire to file a bill seeking to allow same-sex couples to tie the knot through civil unions, clarifying though that his move was not for the legalization of same-sex marriage. CDG