By Mario Casayuran
President Rodrigo Duterte has expressed his full support to the LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning) community, neophyte Senator Christopher Lawrence ‘’Bong’’ T. Go said on Tuesday.
Go, a former Special Assistant to the President (SAP), said President Duterte expressed this support when he met LGBTQ advocates in a meeting at Malacanang that he arranged last Monday evening.
He said he set up the meeting upon the request of key LGBTQ advocates led by Boobsie Savares.
Also invited to the meeting were Bataan 1st District Representative Geraldine Roman and Gretchen Diez, the transwoman who figured in the news recently after she was allegedly handfcuffed and detained for trying to use the female restroom at a Quezon City mall.
During the meeting, Go pointed out, the President said the Palace would work with both Houses of Congress to push for the passage of a version of the SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression) Equality Bill that would protect the rights of individuals against discrimination.
Go mentioned that one of the proposals that was also discussed in the meeting was the possibility of creating a commission for LGBTQ pending the enactment of a SOGIE law.
In addition, the government, together with LGBTQ groups, also plan to organize a national LGBTQ convention where advocates from different regions will be represented.
The convention will serve as a venue for the LGBTQ community to raise their concerns and come up with policy proposals to promote and protect their welfare.
The LGBTQ advocates expressed their gratitude after the meeting and are looking forward to the passage of a law that will protect them from discrimination before the President’s term ends.
Go, for his part, has been vocal with his support to the proposed SOGIE law.
He manifested his support to the SOGIE bill during the Senate plenary session last Wednesday
“We are all equal under the law, and it is our duty in this institution to ensure that all Filipinos—regardless of their age, sex, religion, ethnicity or gender orientation—are treated equally and justly,” Go said in the session.
“As a country that prides itself for its diversity, it is our moral obligation to safeguard a culture of acceptance and inclusivity to ensure that our children and generations of Filipinos to come will live in a nation where they feel loved, cared for and accepted,” he added.