CONGRATULATIONS to the city of Manila, led by Mayor Isko Moreno and Vice Mayor Honey Lacuna, for a very good collaboration that resulted in an ordinance which provides full protection for the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender, queers and intersex (LGBTQI) against any and all forms of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression (SOGIE), even penalizing violators.
Moreno is of course head of the executive branch of the local government unit while Lacuna heads the legislative branch as presiding officer of the Manila City Council. The two whacked their brains out, along with Majority Floor Leader Joel Chua and President Pro-Tempore and Acting Presiding Officer Ernesto Isip to ensure the swift passage and subsequent signing into law of Ordinance 8695 authored by Councilor Joel Villanueva, called, “Manila LGBTQI Protection Ordinance of 2020”.
Under the new law — ordinances take the form of local laws once signed by the mayor — no LGBTQI will have to suffer from any form of discrimination any longer either in the workplace, schools or other public places including social media.
The LGBTQIs have a special place in the heart of Mayor Kois since they have been a part of his life first when he entered showbusiness and when he became a politician. In fact, up until now, the LGBTQIs are still there for him.
Under the ordinance, the following acts, done on the sole basis of actual and perceived sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, are prohibited: denying or limiting access to an employee, opportunities for promotion, transfer, training, schooling or any other benefit which are otherwise granted to other employees similarly situated; refusing employment to a job applicant; denying access to public programs and services to medical and other health services; revoking any accreditation, recognition, registration of any organization in educational institutions, workplaces and communities; denying admission to, expelling , dismissing or preventing a student from graduating or get clearances in educational institutions; subjecting victim to either verbal or written insult including in social media platforms; refusing to provide goods or services and/or imposing onerous terms and conditions as a prerequisite for providing such goods or services where the said terms and conditions are not imposed on others under the same circumstances; refusing or failing to allow any person to avail of services or accommodations in theaters, malls, spas, parlors, studios or apartments, condominiums, townhouses, flats, hotels, inns, dormitories and any other places of dwelling being rented out or offered to the public or for a fee (giving inferior accommodations or services shall be considered a denial of access or use of such facility or services); subjecting one to physical or verbal harassment, profiling, unjust detention and involuntary confinement and organizing groups and activities which promote and incite discrimination against LGBTQIs.
Any act of discrimination or harassment against a person or group of people which demeans their dignity and self-respect or impairs, reduces or nullifies the recognition, enjoyment or exercise of their human and legal rights and basic freedoms in civil, political, labor, economic, social, cultural, educational spheres are also punishable.
Violators face a fine of not less than P 1,000 or imprisonment of six months or both at the discretion of the court for the first offense; imprisonment of from six months and one day to eight months for the second offense and for the third offense, an imprisonment of eight months and one day to one year. Subsequent violations shall be punished by a penalty of one- year imprisonment and fine of not less than P5,000.
The LGBTQIs meanwhile, are decribed as follows: lesbian – a woman whose emotional, romantic and sexual energies are geared towards other women; gay – a man who is emotionally and sexually attracted to other men; bisexual – a person who is emotionally and/or physically attracted to members of both the same and opposite sex; transgender – denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender; queer – those who are gender non-conforming and who do not want to be defined by any of the labels and intersex – those who are naturally born and possess both male and female organs.
The LGBTI community should be thankful they have Moreno and Lacuna, who truly care for their welfare.
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