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Palace hems and haws on SOGIE

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday night said he will certify as urgent the bill prohibiting gender-based discrimination only for his spokesman to withdraw the commitment on Wednesday.

READ: Duterte makes a pitch for SOGIE bill

Duterte replied in the affirmative when he was asked by reporters if he will certify as urgent the controversial Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill.

“Whatever would make the mechanisms of [SOGIE]... whatever would make them [LGBTQ+] happy,” the President said.

But Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo clarified that Duterte was referring to an anti-discrimination measure for a “broader audience” similar to the ordinance in Davao City that was passed when he was mayor.

“Actually what he meant was an anti-discrimination law or bill, not the SOGIE bill. Not that one,” Panelo told CNN Philippines in an interview Wednesday morning.

“The anti-discrimination law in Davao, it refers to all. You cannot discriminate on handicapped, special children, the third gender—everyone,” he added.

Gretchen Diez, a transgender woman, was recently barred from using a women’s toilet at a mall in Cubao, Quezon City. She tried to document the incident on her phone, prompting the janitor to have her arrested.

The incident sparked calls for the passage of SOGIE Equality bill, which has been in the legislative mills for the past three years, that seeks to prohibit gender-based discrimination.

If passed, denial of access to establishments, facilities, services and utilities on the basis of sexual orientation will be prohibited.

Diez previously met with Duterte, who has vowed to work with the Congress for the swift passage of the SOGIE Equality bill.

READ: Rights advocates back SOGIE bill

Topics: Rodrigo Duterte ,
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