LGBTQ+ priority lane in LTO prompts Poe to renew call for inclusive gov’t service
MANILA, Philippines — Sen. Grace Poe has renewed the call for better understanding of “inclusivity and equality” in government service after the Land Transportation Office (LTO) drew backlash for including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) community among the people who can be accommodated in the agency’s priority lanes.
Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services, on Monday said that while the LTO gesture may have been rooted in “good” intentions, it still “appeared to be a lapse in judgement.”
“This is a wake-up call to better our understanding of inclusivity and equality in government service,” she said in a statement.
Poe said the incident should prompt the LTO to bolster its coordination and monitoring with their local offices.
After receiving heavy flak over the gesture, the LTO on Sunday ordered the removal of the priority lane for the LGBTQ+ community, downplaying it as an isolated case. But Poe begged to differ.
“Tagging this as an isolated case is a failure. It is not the first time this happened,” she argued.
The legislator cited news reports of another district office in Cagayan Valley, which had similarly dedicated a special lane for senior citizens, persons with disability, pregnant women, and the LGBTQ+ on Valentine’s Day.
“All policies on gender sensitivity, inclusivity, and equality for access to government services should be studied properly before rolling them out to the public. Our government agencies, especially those with frontline services like the LTO, should ensure their compliance with anti-discriminatory policies,” Poe further pressed.
Proposed measures seeking to outlaw all forms of discrimination remain pending at the Senate committee level.
The fate of other bills pushing to penalize discrimination, particularly based on an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression, also awaits further deliberation by the upper chamber’s panel on rules.