MANILA –– A lawmaker on Tuesday shut down a University of the Philippines official's call to pass a law against discrimination towards the LGBTQ community during a House committee's deliberation on the proposed comprehensive anti-discrimination bill.
Atty. Hendrix Bongalon of the UP Gender Law and Policy Program was reiterating a bid to prohibit discrimination against the LGBTQ when Manila Sixth District Rep. Bienvenido Abante cut him off and told him to stick to the bill being discussed.
"We reiterate our position that... recognizing the longstanding struggle of marginalized persons against all forms of discrimination in the public and private spheres of our society is long overdue," Bongalon said.
"The state has yet to fully comply with its obligation to eliminate discriminatory practices, law and policies that disempower members of the LGBTQI + community," he added.
But Abante, who chairs the House Committee on Human Right, said Bongolon should "speak and tell us about your representing UP not a certain, not a certain group."
The lawmaker said the anti-discrimination bill encompasses the "right of all, therefore speak of all [groups]."
"We're not talking of another bill here of special rights," he said.
The lawmaker added, "Don't be a smart aleck to me."
"If you're only referring to one group, you're not referring to an encompassing comprehensive discrimination bill. I'm not stupid here," Abante said. "Let's talk about the anti discrimination bill here. Let us not talk about the right of any group or people in this hall," he said.
CIBAC party-list Rep. Brother Eddie Villanueva also warned Bongalon against making it appear that his statements represented the view of the entire UP community.
"This could be misleading... You should be a conscious in committing a mistake of representing the entire institution," Villanueva said.
NO TO 'WESTERN INFLUENCE'?
Abante also hit back at the United Nations push for the passage of certain human rights laws in the country. He expressed support for Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla's recent position in the United Nations refusing some of the laws prescribed by the UN.
"This committee will not be influenced by any western influence whatsoever. Naniniwala po ako na dapat ang magtagumpay dito ang kultura ng mga Pilipino," Abante said.
(I believe Filipino culture should triumph here.)
"When you begin to mention about the human rights of the United Nations, I do not believe in the United Nations Human Rights. That's why I commend Secretary Remulla for standing up, for standing up for the Filipino nation. Hindi niya tinanggap ang maraming rekomendasyon na pino-force sa atin, encroaching on our sovereignty. We're not going to allow the UN to encroach on the sovereignty of the Philippines because that is also a human rights violation," he continued.
(He did not accept many recommendations being forced on us, encroaching out sovereignty.)
Abante said his committee would tackle the anti discrimination bill "not on the basis of any Western persuasion."
"From the basis of our religious, cultural, traditional Filipino na pinag-uusapan po natin," he said.
(We will talk about it from the basis of our religious, cultural, traditional Filipino values.)
The bill prohibits discrimination that is directly or indirectly based on the actual or perceived ethnicity, race, color, sex, gender, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth and other status.
It also prohibits discrimination based on protected attributes, including disability, age, nationality, marital and family status, health status, place of residence, economic and social situation, maternity and pregnancy.