By Stephanie Sevillano

RELATIONSHIP PROTECTION. Vice President Sara Duterte says many genders are now being recognized by society, during her speech at a mass wedding in Parañaque City on Tuesday (Feb. 14, 2023). She expressed hope that these genders would enjoy legal protection for their relationship with their partners. (Photo courtesy of the Office of the Vice President)

MANILA – The Office of the Vice President (OVP) on Thursday clarified that Vice President Sara Duterte expressed hope for the legal protection of the partnership of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual plus (LGBTQIA+) community. 

 In a Viber message, OVP spokesperson Reynold Munsayac said that contrary to some reports, Duterte did not mention marriage. 

 “Vice President Sara Duterte did not say she supports same-sex marriage in the Philippines, as reported in a news article,” he said, referring to Duterte’s speech during the mass wedding ceremony in Parañaque City on Feb. 14.  

In the speech, the Vice President expressed hope for their protection, considering the variety of genders being recognized in society. 

 “Naisip ko, sana sa mga susunod na taon, ‘yung ibang gender, katulad ng mga LGBTQIA+, ay mabigyan din sila ng proteksyon ng batas sa kani-kanilang mga partners at sa kanilang mga relationship (I was thinking that hopefully in the coming years, other genders such as the LGBTQIA+ would be given protection under the law, in their relationships),” she said. 

 In the same speech, Duterte urged newly married couples to practice family planning to prevent poverty, which would only cause children to suffer.  

Several legislators, particularly Senator Joel Villanueva and Senator Risa Hontiveros, meanwhile, had opposing views on the Anti-Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) Equality Bill.  

Villanueva raised concerns over the advancement of the SOGIE bill, saying it could lead to the legalization of same-sex marriage.  

The Philippines should not approve such a law just because other countries have passed it, he said, pleading for respect for religion, if not the Word of God.  

Hontriveros, however, refuted his view, saying there is no provision for a marriage license in the SOGIE bill. (PNA)