LGBTQ+ community

What is EO 51, which creates special body for LGBTQ+ sector?

Bonz Magsambol

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What is EO 51, which creates special body for LGBTQ+ sector?

CELEBRATING PRIDE. LGBTQIA+ members and supporters from various barangays bond together as they participate in the Cebu City Pride March on June 24, 2023, to celebrate Pride Month.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

The new order aims to strengthen 'existing mechanisms to address the continued discrimination against the community and provide them an avenue to participate in policy formulation of the government'

MANILA, Philippines – President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has issued an executive order that would create an avenue for LGBTQ+ members to participate in policy formulation of the government.

In a statement on Saturday, December 23, Malacañang said that the President saw the need to “reinforce the Diversity and Inclusion Program (DIP) and reconstitute its Inter-Agency Committee to ensure the country’s continuous compliance with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.” 

It added that the new order aims to strengthen “existing mechanisms to address the continued discrimination against the community and provide them an avenue to participate in policy formulation of the government.”

The committee will be led by the Department of Social Welfare and Development. The secretaries of the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) and the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will co-chair the committee while Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary will serve as vice chair.

Meanwhile, the secretaries of the Department of Education, the Department of Justice and the Department of Health, and the chairpersons of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) and the Special Committee on LGBTQIA+ Affairs will serve as members.

The Special Committee on LGBTQIA+ Affairs was created under the Inter-Agency Committee to be headed by an official with rank of an undersecretary with three members with the rank of assistant secretary. They will all be appointed by the President from among “members of reputable LGBTQ+ community.”

The Philippine Corporate SOGIE Diversity and Inclusiveness (CSDI) Index, a 2018 study conducted by the Philippine LGBT Chamber of Commerce and research firm Cogencia, said that out of 100 companies they’ve surveyed, not one Philippine-based company has implemented policies meant to protect their employees from SOGIE-based discrimination.

While the Philippines has no laws criminalizing homosexuality, it also does not have laws focused on protecting them.

The problem, advocates stress, goes beyond marriage equality. Without a national law, several members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to live in layers of fear and inequality. Some stop living all together. 

Read the full copy of EO 51 here. – Rappler.com

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Bonz Magsambol

Bonz Magsambol covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler.