Presidential candidate Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson reassured all Filipinos, especially those who identify as part of the LGBTQ-plus (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) community in Maguindanao that they will not be discriminated upon based on their sexual orientation under his leadership.
Lacson told a town hall forum in Ampatuan, Maguindanao that “gender equality” will be a standard policy of his potential administration, reiterating that all men, women and other non-binary individuals will be accorded the same levels of respect to exercise their basic human rights.
“We are all Filipinos. Actually, this is not just in the Philippines, this is a universal right. Individual rights of every person—man, woman or an LGBT member—we all have rights. Gender equality, so to speak… We are all equal, no discrimination,” Lacson said.
A discussion on this topic was raised by a homosexual who attended the public forum. The person claimed to be a member of an LGBT organization in Maguindanao duly-registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
His associates in the group include teachers, doctors, lawyers and other professionals. He said their only request is for the state to protect them, especially their humanity, because, according to him, some gay people in Bangsamoro are still being treated as less than humans by the society at large.
“We are not totally accepted at the Bangsamoro. Some of them do accept us, but our main concern here is our security… We are hoping that the constant bashing and degrading of our humanity would stop. We only wanted to spread joy and help (our community,” he said.
Lacson and his running mate Senate President Vicente ‘Tito’ Sotto III have been consistent in calling out all kinds of discrimination against people, including the LGBTQ-plus community, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, those who practice other religions or belong with ethnic minority groups.
Last March, the presidential duo said they will support Senate Bill 689 or the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression (SOGIE) Equality Act—also known as the Anti-Discrimination Bill—if they both get elected as the next top two leaders of our nation.
“The kind of protection we give to every Filipino must also be extended to all individuals who belong to what we call—the community you identify with—the LGBT. So, that is my assurance, and we are very particular on this matter,” hs said.
“We want to uplift the situation, not only in terms of livelihood, but the stature—the status—of every Filipino regardless of where he came from, whatever his persuasion or inclination, everyone is equal. You can have that assurance 100 percent,” he added.