Anti-Discrimination Bill’s OK Delayed

MANILA, Philippines - The passage of the proposed Anti-Racial, Ethnic and Anti-Religious Discrimination Act of 2011 faces a rough sailing in Congress after some senators thumbed down the inclusion of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgenders (LGBTs) provisions in the bicameral bill.

Ifugao Rep. Teodoro Brawner Baguilat Jr., one of the authors of the bill, said the House has difficulty in reconciling whether or not the LGBT provisions will be included in the bill.

"I talked with Commissioner Coco Quisumbing of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). Kaya pala nadedelay sa Senate na mag agree sa bicameral ay pinipa-negotiate ng some Senators na alisin ang provisions ng LGBTs. ( The reason why the Senate failed to agree in the bicameral is that some senators wanted to exclude the LGBT provisions)," he claimed.

The chairman of the House Committee on National Cultural Communities said the senators may agree not to include such provisions just to ensure the passage of the bill into law.

"So baka mag agree na ganito na lang para maipasa.What I know is that one of those opposing is Senator (Vicente) Sotto," he claimed. Sotto was reportedly pushing for the adoption of the House version, which does not include the LGBT provisions.

Baguilat said he is not against the inclusion of such provisions, seeking to promote and safeguard the rights of LGBTs.

"I'm for the LGBT provisions but were now waiting for cue from Senate if they will still present their version (BLGTs) or not," he said.

He earlier expressed concern that the inclusion of such provision might prolong joint chamber discussions, saying that it should be treated as a separate bill from that of the bicameral bill, which seeks to penalize the profiling and the acts of discrimination hurled against persons on account of ethnic origin and religious affiliation and belief.

Apart from Baguilat, Tarlac Rep. Susan Yap and Sulu Rep. Tupay Loong also authored the anti-racial and anti-religious discrimination bill, which was approved by the House on August 3, 2011. The bill was immediately transmitted to the Senate which got the House-approved measure on August 10.

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