Philippines: Congress Approves Anti-Discrimination Bill

In an unprecedented event in Philippine history, early this week, the Philippine Congress finally approved House Bill 6416, a proposed legislation that seeks to criminalize discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The bill prohibits discrimination in areas such as employment, education, health services, public service (including military service), commercial and medical establishments, including police and military harassment.

The bill, filed by Akbayan Party-list Representative Loretta Ann Rosales, is a product of a legislative partnership between Akbayan and the Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network Philippines (LAGABLAB-Pilipinas, Inc.). LAGABLAB-Pilipinas, Inc. is the only lobby network of different LGBT organizations and activists in the country that fights for the equal rights and welfare of the Filipino LGBT community. The bill, which was first filed in 1998, was drafted by LAGABLAB and underwent a series of consultation with the Filipino lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

In 2001, LAGABLAB, Amnesty International Pilipinas and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and other supportive organizations launched the Stop Discrimination Now Campaign to support the passage of the bill. It was first approved by the Committee on Civil, Political and Human Rights of the House of Representatives in December 2003.

The bill will be enacted into law if it gets the support of the Philippine Senate and the concurrence of the incumbent President. With the May 2004 elections, the Anti-Discrimination Bill has to obtain the approval of the Philippine Senate and the incumbent President before the proclamation of the winners of the polls on June
30.

We wish to thank all those who supported the campaign for the passage of the bill. We would not have gone this far without your support. We shall soon call on your support again to push for the bill's immediate enactment.

All the best,

LAGABLAB - Pilipinas

For further information, please see IGLHRC's Action Alert Archives.