The Philippine National Police (PNP) have put their support behind House Bill 2571, which would put a special desk in every police station in the country meant specifically for helping LGBT crime victims.
According to tempo.com.ph, the chief of the PNP Women and Children Protection Center, Police Senior Superintendent Juanita S. Nebran, said “We are supportive of that measure. They are inviting us to be one of the resource persons and our inputs have been asked. Now, we are still on the process of studying the bill by provisions.”
She added, “We also want to know to what extent the concerned government agencies should be involved. There can be no true and meaningful democracy if we continue to systematically oppress the LGBT sector.”
HB 2571 is modeled after the Philippine National Police Reform and Reorganization Act of 1998, also known as the Republic Act 8551, which mandated desks in every police station in the Philippines dedicated to helping justice be served in the cases of crimes committed against women and children.
House Representative Sol Aragones, who originally filed the bill, said that HB 2571 is needed because there is a “very real and pressing problem” regarding the number of crimes and abuses that LGBT people in the Philippines face, to the point that the United Nations has expressed concern about the situation.
The filing of HB 2571 is especially noteworthy given that the Philippines has few legal protections for the community. The country is at least 90 percent Christian, with 80 percent of the population identifying as Roman Catholic, and like in the US, there are no nationwide laws banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, though some cities have them. Homosexual sex is legal, but neither same-sex marriages nor civil unions are recognized.
According to a poll conducted by the US-based Pew Research Center and released in June 2013, the Republic of the Philippines is one of the few countries on the planet to be friendly to the LGBT community socially. Out of thirty-nine countries covered in the global survey, only seventeen had a majority of citizens that were accepting of gay people, and the Philippines ranked number ten.
The Inquirer Global Nation reported, however, “Filipino gay groups were not impressed by the survey results.”
The executive director of the TLF Share Collective, Jonas Bagas, was quoted as saying, “I think that the study only reflects the perceived acceptance of the LGBT community based on the high visibility of gay entertainers…Once you go outside these stereotypes, that’s when you encounter rejection.
“We still have strong biases against gay sex, which for many is still deemed immoral and unnatural. This attitude fosters inequality in our laws, in education, healthcare and even within the family.”