by Charissa M. Luci
The House Committee on Public Order and Safety has approved a bill mandating the setting up of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) help and protection desks in all Philippine National Police (PNP) stations nationwide.
The panel, chaired by Antipolo Rep. Romeo Acop also endorsed for plenary debates next year House Bill 2952, which was principally authored by Batangas Rep. Vilma Santos-Recto.
The bill seeks to amend Republic Act 8551, as amended, otherwise known as the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998 to pave way for the creation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) help and protection desks in all PNP stations nationwide.
During the hearing, the PNP represented by Senior Superintendent Walter Castillejos proposed to rename the existing Women’s and Children’s Desk of the PNP into the “Women, Children and Gender Rights Desk” to accommodate the concerns of LGBTs.
Santos-Recto thanked the panel for passing her bill which aims to end acts of discrimination and violence against the LGBT sector.
The Acop panel and the National Police Commission (Napolcom) earlier agreed to draft a resolution or memorandum order for the creation of the LGBT help and protection desks. But, Santos- Recto insisted that such measure should be enacted into law.
Santos-Recto pressed on the need to put in place government mechanism or intervention that would address the incidents of discrimination, prejudice and even violence against the LGBT community.
She laments that many LGBT victims opt not to report the incident for fear of further harassment, prejudicial treatment, or more violent reprisal.
“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 said.
She noted that many LGBTs have become moving targets for discrimination and violence that affect their economic, social and physiological well-being.