Senator Grace Poe may be the only presidential candidate so far to specifically include LGBT rights in her platform of governance.
In her presidential bid proclamation speech Wednesday night at the Bahay ng Alumni in the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, Poe urged the public to respect the rights of vulnerable sectors, including the LGBT or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“I-respeto natin ang karapatang pantao ng lahat. Hindi tayo magiging bulag sa kalagayan ng lahat ng vulnerable sectors, kasama na ang may kapansanan, mga indigenous peoples, mga maralitang taga-lungsod, mga kababaihan, kabataan at mga bata, mga LGBT at mga senior citizens,” Poe said.
She was greeted by applause from the audience before Poe followed up her statement: “Maraming salamat sa ating komunidad ng LGBT dito sa UP.”
In a Facebook post, Jason Masaganda of the Metropolitan Community Church said it may be the first time a presidential candidate cited the LGBT as a formidable sector.
He urged the public to remain vigilant so that the LGBT would not be used for political purposes.
“Sana hindi lang ito paraan upang makuha ang LGBT sector but this is the first time that a Presidential aspirant considered the LGBT a sector in national elections,” Masaganda wrote.
“We are weary about being used to look good in public. So we will be vigilant about this,” Red Macalalad, Head of Task Force Pride Philippines, told Speqtrum in an interview.
Task Force Pride Philippines is the network of LGBT organizations and individuals which takes charge of the annual Metro Manila Pride March.
Macalalad lauded Poe for specifically including the rights of vulnerable sectors such as the LGBT in her platform of governance.
“We want all candidates in the upcoming elections to voice their opinions on LGBT issues such as hate crimes, discrimination, and equal rights and tell us how they will address,” Macalalad said.
Macalalad expressed hope that the anti-discrimination bill, or the proposed measure which criminalizes discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (Sogie), be passed during the term of Poe and her running mate Francis “Chiz” Escudero as senators.
He scored the current administration of not prioritizing the said measure. The House of Representatives has passed its version of the bill in the committee level on Feb. 10, but the bill has languished since then.
“We hope that aside from good words we can see the anti-discrimination bill turned into a law while she and Hon. Escudero are still senators. The current administration has not delivered and has not done anything to advance LGBT rights,” he said.
Poe filed a similar bill in the Senate called the Anti-Discrimination Act of 2014.
The latest case of a possible hate crime on the LGBT is the murder of Dennis Relato, coordinator of Ladlad partylist in Albay, who was stabbed dead at his house in Oas. Ladlad Partylist founder Prof. Danton Remoto, the victim’s cousin, tagged the incident as a hate crime.
Macalalad said politicians should provide concrete steps to protect LGBTs at a dangerous time for the sector in the country.
“The recent bloodbaths have shown that minorities in this country are easily abused and killed,” he said. Gerv Tacadena