• LGBT finds an ally in the House; bill to protect their rights against discrimination filed

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    LESBIAN, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) found an ally in the House of Representatives who filed a bill that will shield their rights against any form of discrimination.

    Neophyte Rep. Sol Aragones of Laguna province filed House Bill 342, also known as Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity Discrimination Prohibition Act who aims to protect their rights against any kind of discrimination.

    “LGBT continue to be oppressed by the more bigoted members of society at large, primarily because of misconceptions and ignorance,” said Aragones, a TV reporter turned politician, in her explanatory note.

    Since LGBT are becoming vulnerable to different kind of crimes, a law is needed to protect their interests.

    Aragones admitted in a chance interview that she has many LGBT friends who told her that they were victims of discrimination in many forms.

    To date, 156 LGBTs have been murdered since 1996, 17 in 2012 alone, data gathered by the author revealed.

    “There are alarming figures indicative of the kind of oppression perpetrated on our fellow Filipinos by bigoted members of the society. But oppression is not limited to murders and hate crimes,” Aragones stressed as she claimed that LGBTs are also deprived employment and other benefits because of society’s misconceptions and ignorance.

    The bill also cites as “discriminatory practices” among others denial of access to public service, including military service on the basis of sexual orientation; inclusion of sexual orientation as criteria for hiring, promotion, dismissal of workers, refused to admit in any educational institution; and denial of access to medical, health and other government services.

    The bill also claimed that LGBT also experience denial of license application, clearance, certification or any other document issued by government authorities on the basis of the applicant’s orientation.

    If the bill pass into law, anyone found guilty of any of the discriminatory practices enumerated shall be penalized with a fine of not less than P10,000 or imprisonment of less than one month but not more than one year or both at the discretion of the court.

    The penalty contained is without prejudice to the award of damages to aggrieved party as may be proven during the trial. The institution of criminal action shall impliedly include the civil action, unless a separate civil action has been filed or a reservation for the filing of such action is made. PNA

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