THE PHILIPPINE LGBT HATE CRIME WATCH, a diverse, inclusive, and non-partisan community of individuals and organizations dedicated to ending prejudice and hate crimes targeting LGBT Filipinos, is calling on President Benigno Simeon Aquino III to turn his recent pronouncements on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights into concrete actions.
While we commend President Aquino for his recent pronouncement in New York City before world leaders that he generally favors LGBT Rights, we believe that he should offer more concrete proposals and act on them while he is still in office.
LGBT Filipinos suffer from real everyday problems stemming from homophobia and discrimination. Our group documented 141 murdered LGBT Filipinos since 1996, and there are thousands more who experience different levels of violence, harassment, physical and mental injuries, loss of income, and many other forms of inequality. Of course, LGBT Filipinos and their straight allies must also act to counter the bigoted elements of our culture. But the government must act to establish mechanisms and remedies against bigotry, especially if it results to violence.
LGBT Filipinos need real legal protections that can be realized if government leadership adopts a strong political will to provide these protections. Adoption of the Anti-Discrimination Bill now pending in Congress is one of the concrete steps that can effectively deliver this. Another legislative action would be to endorse a law reforming the criminal justice system to create new investigation protocols that would allow security forces to identify elements and manifestations of prejudice, bias and hate in reported crimes.
The government is obligated by international human rights conventions to enact the anti-discrimination law as soon as possible, and even before this is achieved, the Aquino administration can create administrative measures to address inequalities in key areas of public policy.
President Aquino should direct the Department of Social Welfare and Development to allow easier adoption for LGBT persons. He can push the Department of Labor and Employment to establish implementing rules to promote equality in the workplace. He can direct the Department of Education, CHED, and TESDA to issue memos respecting the right of persons to their own gender identity and safeguard against bullying. These are some of the few things his administration can make instead of issuing bland statements to forums.
Only real measures can provide long term solutions that President Aquino is talking about. We do not ask for special rights, only equal treatment.
End violence and hate against LGBT Filipinos. Get real, Mr. President.
Contact Reighben Labilles 09179714096