Duterte ‘all for SOGIE bill,’ 3rd restroom for LGBTQ+
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is “all for it,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Tuesay said of the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bill, adding that the President “was inclined toward [approving] a third restroom” for the LGBTQ+ community.
The President expressed his support for the bill, Panelo said, when transgender woman Gretchen Diez paid him a courtesy call on Monday, almost a week after she was prevented from using a women’s toilet.
Diez, who was later handcuffed and arrested at a police precinct, has filed a complaint against Araneta Center Inc. for violating Quezon City’s gender fair ordinance that requires establishments to install gender-neutral restrooms.
“I don’t know if [the President] will certify [the bill as a priority measure], but I understand there is a strong inclination in Congress to pass it,” Panelo said.
“The President considers the LGBTs as equals,” Sen. Christopher “Bong” Go told reporters, adding that the President plans to hold a convention with the LGBTQ+ community and may issue an executive order creating a commission to handle issues that concern them.
The Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality chaired by Sen. Risa Hontiveros was expected to submit the Sogie bill to the plenary for deliberations.
In the Senate hearing on the bill, Sen. Ronald dela Rosa expressed apprehension about allowing transgender women to use the women’s restrooms.
Such fears were unfounded, said Naomi Fontanos of a gender equality advocacy group. In most cases of violence against women, the perpetrators are people they know, she said.
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