Davao’s religious sector decries SOGIE bill, says provisions discriminatory to religion, IPs

A religious sector in Davao City decried the provisions of the proposed sexual orientation, gender identity expression, and sexual characteristics (SOGIESC) bill claiming that its provisions are discriminatory to religion including to the belief of the Indigenous People (IP).

Dennis Castillanes, spokesperson of the Davao Evangelical Association of Ministers, said on Wednesday that the eight bills, which were consolidated into the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination (CAD) Bill being opposed by millions of Filipinos because of its discriminatory provisions.

“Our primary concern is CAD ang title but if you go deep down sa maong provisions it’s very discriminatory sa religious, IPs, and other straight communities. The Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) aired their concerns as well as the Iglesia ni Kristo. I joined two committee hearings ug nakita didto ang ilahang mga presentation. Probably, about 24 percent of the population ang ma-discriminate sa bill para lang paburan ang few. They’re making friends with the few by making enemies with the super majority,” he said during the AFP PNP Press Corps media forum on Wednesday at The Royal Mandaya Hotel.

Last month, the House Committee on Women and Gender Equality chaired by Bataan’s First District Representative Geraldine Roman conducted an initial consideration of the eight bills seeking to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics and providing penalties for violation thereof. These are House Bills 222, 460, 3418, 4177, 4277, 5551, 6003, and 7036 authored by Reps. Roman, Juan Carlos ‘Arjo’ Atayde, Antonio Legarda Jr., Harris Christopher Ongchuan, Christopher De Venecia, Arlene Brosas, Patrick Michael Vargas, and Edwin Olivarez, respectively.

Roman believed that the time is ripe to enact the SOGIE Equality Bill.

Castillanes cited House Bill 222, Section 5i “denying a person access to or the use of establishments, facilities, utilities, or services, including housing, open to the general public on the basis of SOGIESC: provided that the act of giving inferior accommodations or services shall be considered a denial of access or use of such facility or service: provided further, that this prohibition covers acts of discrimination against juridical persons solely on the basis of the SOGIESC of their members or their target constituencies” as unjust.

“Halimbawa kung ako adunay hotel unya ang akong religious belief nga ang akong hotel i-open lang nako sa straight hetero couple unya dili nako i-open sa mga homosexuals kay mao na ang akong faith and belief, kung imo silang balibaran puwede ka nila kasuhan unya ang kaso puwede ka makamulta ug P100,000 to P500,000 mapriso ka between one year to 12 years,” he explained.

“Naa pa’y baker, naay nag ask sa iyaha nga homosexuals na magpabuhat ug cake nga naay duha ka figurines nga lalaki nga maghalok. Against man na sa iyaha, gibalibaran niya, ang nahitabo gikasuhan siya. Niabot sa Supreme Court maayo na lang ang SC naghatag sa iyaha ug pabor like the liberty of conscience pero the fact na gikasuhan ka, nakagasto ka, ang stress nimo, ang journey sa imohang kaso. In 2017, Senator Joel Villanueva asked Senator Riza Hontiveros the same incident like the baker puwede ba siya kasuhan sa bill to which Hontiveros replied “yes” it’s a violation of the law,” he added.

Castillanes conveyed to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual, (LGBTQ) community that the religious sector is not against them but against the provisions of the bill.

“Gusto namo ipaabot sa LGBTQ, kami sa religious sector dili gyud mi against kung unsa ang inyong choice, kung duna may grupo na dili gusto ug discrimination, kami nga grupo kay nasulat sa Bibliya God hates partiality, choice man na nila, dili mi manghilabot, we respect them. Ang sa amoa lang against mi sa mga proviisons nila nga maka discriminate sa tanan, against mi sa privision sa SOGIE bill. We welcome them in our community,” he said.

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