MANILA (UPDATE)—President Rodrigo Duterte supports the passage of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, which seeks to protect members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community from discrimination, according to Sen. Bong Go.
Duterte met with LGBTQ advocates, including transgender woman Gretchen Custodio Diez, in Malacañang Monday and expressed his full support to the LGBTQ community, Go said in a statement.
Duterte will ask the 18th Congress to ensure the passage of SOGIE Equality bill, which also aims to protect people with real or perceived class, status, ethnicity, color, disability, and religious and political beliefs from discrimination, the senator said.
Creating a commission for LGBTQ and organizing a national convention were among the proposals discussed during the meeting, Go added.
The convention, he said, will serve as a venue to raise concerns and come up with proposals to promote and protect the welfare of LGBTQ community.
"As a country that prides itself for its diversity, it is our moral obligation to safeguard a culture of acceptance and inclusivity to ensure that our children and generations of Filipinos to come will live in a nation where they feel loved, cared for and accepted," Go said.
Diez made headlines last week after she was barred from using the female comfort room of a shopping mall in Quezon City.
Following the incident, the passage of SOGIE Equality bill is now on top of Duterte's agenda, said Presidential Commission for the Urban Poor (PCUP) commissioner Norman Baloro.
"He will support and respect the decision of Gretchen Diez. Sabi niya, dapat daw hindi 'yun nangyari," said Baloro, who also attended the meeting.
The president also made a joke he will kiss Diez inside the comfort room where the harassment took place, he added.
"Sabi niya, 'Gusto mo puntahin natin balik ang lugar. Samahan kita magpasok sa CR at iki-kiss kita.' Para makita ng buong sambayanan kung gaano talaga ka-sincere at committed ang presidente sa pagtulong sa karapatan ng LGBT," Baloro added.—With reports from Berchan Louie Angchay, ABS-CBN News