By Charissa M. Luci
Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto yesterday cited the need to pass a law that would mandate the setting up of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) help and protection desks in all Philippine National Police (PNP) stations nationwide.
The neophyte lawmaker vowed to push for the passage of House Bill 2952 which seeks to put up LGBT help and protection desks in all PNP stations nationwide to end acts of discrimination and violence against the LGBT sector.
“I won’t settle for a resolution and be included in their memorandum order. HB 2952 should be enacted into law,” she said in an interview after the House Committee on Public Order and Safety and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) recently agreed to draft a resolution or memorandum order for the creation of the LGBT help and protection desks.
The House panel, chaired by Antipolo Rep. Romeo V. Acop is expected to tackle Santos-Recto’s HB 2952 on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Santos-Recto laments the absence of government mechanisms or interventions that would address the incidents of discrimination, prejudice and even violence against the LGBT community.
“Because of this, many LGBT victims opt not to report the incident for fear of further harassment, prejudicial treatment, or more violent reprisal,” Santos-Recto pointed out.
“The Philippines should not condone an environment where the LGBT community is treated with contempt and violence by their fellow citizens while authorities empowered to protect them look the other way or, too often, even join in the abuses,” she added.
She noted that many LGBTs have become moving targets for discrimination and violence that affect their economic, social and physiological well-being.
Under HB 2952, the LGBT help and protection desks shall act on all cases involving crimes against chastity, sexual harassment, and abuses committed against LGBTs in the Philippines.
The bill also provides that the PNP shall ensure the gender neutrality of its human resource processes, from the recruitment and selection to the promotion and deployment of police officers, Santos-Recto said.
“Ultimately, 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,” Santos-Recto said.
“Establishing a help desk for the LGBT sector in all police stations nationwide will somehow ensure protection and promotion of their welfare,” she pointed out.