Members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) community here are optimistic that the soon-to-be-implemented provincial ordinance on LGBTQ would empower them to protect their rights.
The provincial government of Cavite, through the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), in coordination with non-governmental organizations (NGOs), will directly enforce Provincial Ordinance No. 200, entitled the “LGBTQ Community Protection and Recognition Ordinance of the Province of Cavite” by end-September or early October after meeting the required posting and publication.
The ordinance, approved by Governor Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla last July 4, is one of the province’s counter-mechanisms to the steady and alarming rise in violence on LGBTQ members, as recorded over the past 15 years, and a way to support the pending Anti-Discrimination Bill, also known as the “SOGIE Equality Bill”, which has yet to be enacted as a law.
Jason “Jayne” Rezane, a bookkeeper at the General Trias city mayor’s office, said the ordinance will empower LGBTQ in ways that “pag me di makatao na pagtrato, me batas na, me parusa (if there would be inhumane treatment, there is now a law and penalty).”
Section 4 of the ordinance considers it unlawful to discriminate any person and/or group of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity and expression or those who belong to the LGBTQ community.
Considered discriminatory are denying them access to public services, refusing or revoking the accreditation and formal recognition, as well as registration of any LGBTQ Community in educational institutions, workplaces, communities and similar settings.
The ordinance also prohibits denying them access to and/or the use of private and public establishments, facilities, utilities, transportation and services, including housing, which is open to the general public.
Under the ordinance, persons who will be found guilty of any of the prohibited acts shall be penalized from PHP1,000 for first offense, PHP3,000 for second offense, and PHP5,000 for third offense.
On the subject of “denial”, the ordinance specifies its presence “when a person is given inferior accommodation or services and (there was) rejection of any application, entry or participation.”
The ordinance also bars subjecting or forcing any person to any medical or psychological examination without the expressed approval of the person involved, except on cases allowed by law.
It will also be against the law to upload or post pictures, videos and comments on the internet through social networking sites, websites and other social media intended or demean, debase, degrade and humiliate a person or group of persons; as well as publication and/or use of derogatory and humiliating statements, remarks, comments, articles, videos and pictures in print and broadcast media against a person/group.
The ordinance also gives the LGBTQ equal rights to avail of medical and health services that is open to the general public.
Disclosure and improper handling of confidential personal and private information, whether publicly or through the internet, pertinent to LGBTQ people’s over-all well-being like legal name, assigned sex, sexual re-assignment surgery status, historical medical records, relationship status, domestic partner information should have prior permission and consent from the concerned individual prior to release, the ordinance provides.
To ensure a sustained program on the LGBTQ community’s protection and development, the ordinance specifies Cavite’s commitment to institute measures and programs that would strengthen the LGBTQ community and encourage a more active participation in the province’s development.
For an effective province-wide implementation, the ordinance specifies that Cavite’s local government units (LGUs) are to observe the tenor of the ordinance and to provide for a more applicable approach in mitigating or further dissolving the social biases and impartiality of the community, especially in the areas of employment, inadequate protection from abuses, being victimized on the ground of gender impartiality and any other form of discrimination.
All “barangays” (villages) in the province are likewise encouraged to establish an LGBTQ desk to assist victims of discrimination against perpetrators.
The private sector is also invited to conduct seminars on gender sensitivity and other gender-related activities in their offices, workplace, factories and establishments.
Jully Dellupac, owner of BEKIry bakeshop is thankful for the provincial ordinance, saying he also hopes that this will have full acceptance of all Caviteños, “especially on its implementation.”
The ordinance was authored by Cavite Vice Governor Ramon ‘Jolo’ Revilla III and sponsored by Cavite Councilors’ League (CCL) president Kerby Salazar.
“Kung nagawa po namin ito dito sa Lalawigan ng Cavite, mas lalong kayang-kaya natin ito sa buong Pilipinas (If we were able to do this in Cavite, all the more we can do this across the country),” Revilla said. (Gladys Pino)
News source: Philippine News Agency