City passes own SOGIE ordinance

In a significant relief for members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) community and their advocates in Dumaguete City, an ordinance that provides comprehensive anti-discrimination policy on the bases of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) has been passed in the City Council.

Authored by Councilor Rosel. Erames with her co-authors Councilors Danielle Tolentino, Bernice  Elmaco, Edgar Lentorio Jr., Lilani Ramon and Nelson Patrimonio, the ordinance penalizes after due process actual or perceived SOGIE-based discrimination in the workplace, school and other similar acts that undermines and harms the rights of the LGBTQs.

The authors observed that members of the LGBTQ continue to experience stigma, violence, prejudice and discrimination manifested through bullying, harassment, and portrayal of them in the media or otherwise as untrustworthy, dangerous, predatory and frivolous.

Hence, under the ordinance among the prohibited acts on the basis of actual or perceived SOGIE are discrimination from gaining employment, training, promotion, remuneration; unduly delaying, refusing or failing to accept a person’s application for admission as a student; expelling or any penalty on the basis of SOGIE; subjecting the student to harassment and intimidation committed by teachers, administrators and fellow students; refusing to provide goods or service or imposing onerous terms and conditions as a prerequisite for such; denying access to health services and facilities; refusing or failing to allow LGBTQ to avail of services or accommodations; denying the application for licenses, clearances, certifications or other documents; vilifying, mocking, slandering or ridiculing LGBTQs through words, action and in writing; executing any activity in public which incites hatred towards or serious contempt for or severe ridicule of LGBTQ and other analogous acts.

First time violators will be required to attend a gender sensitivity training; second time offenders can be imprisoned for not less than 60 days but not more than 1 year and or a fine of not less than P 2,000 but not more than P 5, 000 or both at the discretion of the court. This is without prejudice to any applicable criminal, civil or administrative action that may be instituted under the provision of existing laws.

SOGIE concerns may now be incorporated in the functions of existing Barangay Violence Against Women and Children (VAW) Desk which will document and report cases of discrimination against LGBTQ persons. VAW Desk Officers may also assist the victims in filing appropriate compliant with the law enforcement agencies.