DOLE, DOH, DepEd, other agencies express support for Sogie equality bill
MANILA, Philippines — Different national government agencies on Tuesday expressed their support for the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (Sogie) equality bill during a House hearing on Tuesday.
According to Rep. Geraldine B. Roman, 12 hours have already been devoted to listening to resource persons both for and against the current House version of the Sogie equality bill, which is the unified version of House Bills 222, 460, 3418, 4277, 5551, 6003 and 7036.
“The Department of Health supports the house bills which seek to protect the fundamental rights of all individuals against any form of discrimination based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics,” said Adriel Pizarra, a medical officer speaking on behalf of the Department of Health (DOH).
According to Pizarra, the passage of the bill will only enforce the existing health laws and DOH policies.
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) also backed the bill, as it also has measures that protect a person from gender-based discrimination in the workplace.
“This is really an opportune time to further strengthen the DOLE’s thrust in ending discrimination in the workplace,” said DOLE Officer Donnalyn Calipay.
The Technical Education And Skills Development Authority shared the DOLE’s stance, with the authority’s Clefford Pascual assuring “ the agency’s readiness to provide support should this bill be passed into law.”
According to Suzette Ganaban from the Department of Education (DepEd), the agency also supports the Sogie Equality Bill.
“With the emphasis on the education sector, the enactment of such bill will provide much needed support for DepEd’s advocacy promoting anti-discriminatory practices in schools and offices,” said Ganaban.
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said that it is ready to enforce the bill if it is passed.
“It fully supports measures that protect the dignity of all persons regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. If these bills are legislated, the PNP has the operating mechanisms in place to ensure its enforcement,” said Isagani Fetizanan, the assistant chief of the PNP’s women and children center.
However, the PNP has reservations about House Bill 3702, which establishes a help desk for the LGBTQ+ in all PNP stations, suggesting instead that the role could be integrated with the Women and Children’s Helpdesk.
“Perhaps ‘women, children, gender rights protection desk’ is more appropriate,” Fetizanan said.
The Civil Service Commission and the Commission on Population also showed approval of the bill during the hearing. The Department of Justice and the Commission on Higher Education did not have resource personnel during the hearing.