Philippines: Lawmaker files bill for LGBT desks in police stations to combat anti-gay killings
A Philippines Congresswoman has filed a bill seeking to reform police responsibility to anti-gay hate crimes by placing LGBT desks in every police station.
The bill comes as an amendment to the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganisation Act of 1998, which placed desks in police stations to handle crimes against women and children.
Congresswoman Sol Aragones said she proposed the initiative as a way of giving balance to the oppression of gay people in the country.
She said: “There can be no true and meaningful democracy if we continue to systematically oppress the LGBT sector.”
The Philippines’s population is largely Roman Catholic with a large Muslim minority. It is one of the more liberal countries in Asia regarding same-sex acts, and allows gay people to serve in the military.
However, in a Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review this year, it was reported that an escalating number of rights violations have been suffered by the LGBT community.
The Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch also revealed that between 1996 and June 2012, there were around 164 cases of murder against LGBT citizens, with seventeen of them occurring in 2012 alone.
Commission chair Loretta Rosales said the need for Ms Aragones’s amendments were crucial because gay people are still a discriminated minority in the Philippines.
She said: “These are people who are discriminated against — shot, tortured, robbed — because of anger over their sexual orientation.”
The commission is now working on creating a database of LGBT hate crimes so that it can lead to improve both investigation and prosecution.
Marlon Lacsamana of the Philippine LGBT Hate Crime Watch said: “We don’t know how many more have been killed over the years.
“The government needs to recognize, investigate, document and prosecute hate crimes.”
Last month, a Philippines House of Representatives member filed a bill that would criminalise married people who cheat on their partners with a person of the same-sex, but said he was not anti-gay and just wanted to see everyone treated equally.