House panel okays police desks for crimes vs LGBT

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Aside from women’s desks, police stations nationwide could soon have desks dedicated to members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

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This will be made possible by House Bill 2952, which the House Committee on Public Order and Safety approved recently.

The bill, authored by Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto of Batangas, amends the existing PNP Reform and Reorganization Act to create an additional LGBT desk alongside womens’ desk in all police stations across the country to administer and attend to cases involving crimes against chastity, sexual harassment and abuses committed against the LGBT community and other similar offenses.

In addition, municipalities and cities without policewomen will have two years upon the effectivity of the act to comply with requirements of the provision.

“This bill seeks to create a police organization that is able and eager to respond to any criminal or emergency incident, regardless of the gender orientation of the people involved,” Recto, a former Batangas governor and an award-winning actress, said in the copy of her bill.

In a position paper, Police Senior Supt. Walter Castillejos said the Philippine National Police supports the bill and that the PNP’s existing women’s desks already act on gender-based complaints.

The Lesbian and Gay Legislative Advocacy Network (Lagablab) headed by Jet Evangelista is in favor of the measure.

“Our organization supports any legislative effort that will ease discrimination and violence against Filipino LGBTs,” Evangelista said.

Recto’s proposal also provides that the PNP should not restrict itself from recruiting members of the LGBT community to be part of the police force either through regular recruitment or lateral entry program and that the PNP should not prevent women or an LGBT from being promoted to a higher position.

In addition, the bill also mandates the PNP to prioritize the recruitment and training of women who will serve in the women’s desks.

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