MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros took a swipe at President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, June 24 at the 2017 Metro Manila Pride march for “failing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community”.
“The macho politics of Duterte have failed LGBT hopes. While he paraded himself as an ally during the campaign season, promising same-sex marriage in the Philippines, he turned back on his promise not one year in his term,” said Hontiveros during her keynote speech at the event.
This is contrary to his stance during the 2016 campaign period, when he expressed openness to possible legislation allowing same-sex marriage.
Meanwhile, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, one of Duterte’s staunchest allies, said last October that he would push for same-sex civil marriage in the Philippines.
“The change he has promised has been replaced by an endless parade of strongman tactics that prey on the vulnerable,” she said.
According to Hontiveros, for a country that is considered liberal, “the Philippines still has a long way to go to achieve rights for the LGBT.”
“We march for those who can’t. Dear friends, love is the currency of our stuggle,” she said.
Call for equal rights
Hontiveros also called on the public to march for the death of Filipino transgender Jeffrey “Jennifer” Laude and to create safe spaces for the community.
According to Trans Murder Monitoring project, the Philippines is part of the top 10 countries with the most reported killing of trans- and gender-diverse people at 40 since 2008. In Asia, the country ranks second next to India at 55.
“(The numbers) represent a deadly and irrational prejudice against those who do not conform to the traditional notion of sexual identity and orientation and a deep-seated hate that we refuse to acknowledge and address,” she said.
Meanwhile, Vice President Leni Robredo also told the public to push for the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Patuloy nating tutukan ang pagsulong sa karapatan ng LGBT laban sa lahat ng uri ng diskriminasyon at karahasang nakikita pa rin natin sa ating kapaligiran,” Robredo said in a video message posted on her official Facebook account.
(We will continue to focus on LGBT’s advancement of rights against all forms of discrimination and violence that we still see in our environment)
“Sama-sama tayong kumilos upang suportahan ang Anti-Discrimination Bill at ang pagbigay ng pantay na karapatan sa edukasyon, economic opportunities at health services lalo na dahil sa dumadaming kaso ng HIV/AIDS,” she added.
(Let’s work together to support the Anti-Discrimination Bill and to provide equal rights to education, economic opportunities and health services especially due to the increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases.)
Almost two decades have passed before an anti-discrimination bill was debated in Congress. (READ: The long road to an LGBT anti-discrimination law)
In March, the House of Representatives kicked off the hearing on House Bill No. 4982 or the Sexual Orientation Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Act.
The bill pushes for equal opportunities for the LGBT community but it does not seek to legalize same-sex marriage.
Metro Manila Pride
The pride march is not only an event to urge policymakers to push for the bill but also to celebrate diversity.
“Sinusulong pa rin namin ang Anti-discrimination bill na finile nila Kaka Bag-ao and our other friends in Congress and Senate. Pero ito, we’re here to celebrate diversity and pride of the LGBT groups,” Danton Remoto, Ang Ladlad party-list’s chairman, told Rappler.
(We are pushing for the [passage] of the Anti-discrimination bill that was filed by Kaka Bag-ao and our other friends in Congress and Senate. But we’re also here to celebrate diversity and pride of the LGBT groups.)
“There are lot of young people who joined the parade. We see the next generation of activists and advocates,” Remoto added.
The 2017 Metro Manila Pride March was held at Plaza de los Alcaldes in Marikina City on Saturday. (IN PHOTOS: #HereTogether at the 2017 Metro Manila Pride march)
This year’s theme is “Here Together” in the hopes of bringing together supporters and members of the LGBTQ+ community to fight to equal rights and resolve discrimination against the gay community. (IN PHOTOS: Why we’re #HereTogether)
Organizers estimated around 5,000 people marched along the streets of the city. – with a report from LeAnne Jazul/Rappler.com