MANILA, Philippines — Next week, the Senate Committee on Rules may tackle the bill to criminalize discrimination based on one’s sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics (SOGIESC), according to the panel’s chairman, Majority Leader Joel Villanueva.
This move comes after concerns from several religious groups led to the bill being sent to Villanueva’s committee for further study. However, Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros opposed the motion and believed it should be remanded to her Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations, and Gender Equality.
She later expressed frustration that Villanueva allegedly took too long to complete the committee report, due in December following a single hearing.
But, in Villanueva’s defense, Congress can’t move quickly on an issue that is so controversial. Villanueva has informed the media that they are now speaking with their members and setting a hearing, ideally the following week.
He noted that the meeting will be held behind closed doors with members of the Rules Committee, including Hontiveros. This will determine what happens next with the SOGIESC bill, such as if it can be sponsored in plenary for debates or if it needs to go through more public hearings and by which committee.
Villanueva said that at least three of his colleagues wanted the SOGIESC bill to be discussed with other anti-discrimination measures and he’s also asking why people opposed the SOGIESC bill.
“Until now ‘yun ‘yung pinagtataka natin doon sa ilang mga kabigan natin sa LGBTQ e no… Ang mangyayari talaga parang may special treatment, VIP treatment na gustong kuhanin ‘yung isang sector of our society.”SENATOR JOEL VILLANUEVA
(Until now, that’s what baffles us about some of our friends in the LGBTQ community. It seems a sector of our society wants VIP treatment.)
Villanueva further mentioned that most people they talked to agreed with a holistic anti-discrimination bill.
News source: CNN Philippines