Not just 'SOGIE': Bullied for her skin, Binay seeks 'universal' anti-discrimination bill

Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 04 2019 06:08 PM

MANILA - Sen. Nancy Binay on Wednesday called for a more “universal” anti-discrimination bill, as a Senate panel tackled a proposed measure seeking to protect individuals from gender-based discrimination.

“Maybe the [discussion against] discrimination should cover everybody, not just gender,” Binay said in a Senate hearing on the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.

Binay cited herself as an example, having been the subject of ridicule because of her dark complexion.

“I’ve been discriminated [against based on] my color. Does that mean that I need to file a bill to protect people like me? Sana yung discussion natin when it comes to discrimination should be more universal, should be more encompassing.”

(I've been discriminated upon based on my color. Does that mean that I need to file a bill to protect people like me? I hope our discussion on discrimination would be more universal and more encompassing.) 

Binay pointed to the anti-discrimination bill filed by Sen. Sonny Angara, which seeks to ban all forms of discrimination in the country.

Sen. Risa Hontiveros, sponsor of the SOGIE Equality Bill, said while she supports Angara’s proposed “Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Act of 2019”, there is a need to enact a law that specifically caters to the concerns of the LGBT community.

The SOGIE Equality Bill recently became a hot-button issue after transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez was arrested following an altercation with a mall personnel for using a woman’s restroom.

The proposed measure has deepened divisions among various sectors in the predominantly Catholic Philippines.

President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed support for the bill’s passage.

While several Christian groups oppose the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill, Catholic nun Mary John Mananzan pointed out that the bill only aims to protect from discrimination a particular group which has been the usual victims of violence and oppression.

Mananzan said while issues on sexual orientation are highly debatable, one must not ignore the fact that many people who have chosen to freely express their gender identity are the ones who usually face discrimination.

She explained that heterosexual men would not normally demand equal treatment because "it is a fact that they are not discriminated against as gender."

"Therefore, it is really the one that is discriminated against that is the focus of our attention," Mananzan said in the same hearing.

"Even if we are really against discrimination of anybody, sometimes you have to focus on groups of people that are actually suffering discrimination and violence."