By Ma. Teresa Montemayor

FULL COLOR. Pedestrians go about their day at the corner of Natividad Lopez and A. Villegas Streets in Ermita, Manila, near the city hall, on Friday (June 2, 2023). They may not pay the crossing much attention but for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning community, the colors signify their lifelong fight for equality and against discrimination, especially every June which they mark as Pride Month. (PNA photo by Yancy Lim)

MANILA – The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Tuesday urged local government units to pass ordinances that protect individuals from discrimination and ensure equality for all.

The CHR commended the city government of Muntinlupa for passing City Ordinance No. 2023-077 or Respeto sa Kapwa Muntinlupeño ordinance which aims to castigate and penalize perpetrators of unwanted sexual remarks and actions in public spaces.

“In an effort to combat all forms of harassment and discrimination, especially towards women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex (LGBTQI) community, the ordinance is set to punish offenders who commit implicit and explicit homophobic, misogynistic, and sexist comments against citizens of the city of Muntinlupa,” the CHR said in a statement.

Violators will make reparations in accordance with Republic Act 11313 or the Safe Spaces Act.

The commission noted that blatant harassment and inherently discriminatory acts continue to prevail in the Philippines’ online or real-life setting.

Numerous cases nationwide of harassment motivated by and related to gender identity, ranging from microaggressions and disadvantages in the workplace to violence and death, it said.

The ordinance, according to the CHR, adheres to the principles promoted by the International Labour Organization Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and Yogyakarta Principles among others in taking on a proactive role to create safer spaces for vulnerable minorities.

“We also hope that the increasing support and initiatives at the local level will help pave the urgency to pass of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) equality bill,” it said. (PNA)