ANTI-DISCRIMINATION. Manila Mayor Francisco 'Isko Moreno' Domagoso (center) shows a copy of Ordinance 8695 he signed on Thursday (Oct. 29, 2020). The ordinance prohibits all acts of discrimination against the LGBTQI and penalizes violators. (Photo courtesy of Manila PIO)

MANILA – Manileños on Friday welcomed the city's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against members of the lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and intersex (LGBTQI) community but said this measure should not be abused.

“Tama ang ginawa ni Yorme (Mayor Francisco 'Isko Moreno' Domagoso), mga tao rin sila me puso’t damdamin, igalang at irespeto natin kung ano ang kasarian nila, unawain at intindihin natin sila (What Yorme did was right. They are also human. We have to respect them whatever their genders are and try to understand them,” said Darius Jake Sarno in an interview.

Joel Gallevo said he already encountered some individuals who tend to abuse whatever right given to them.

“I’m in favor, pero huwag naman sanang abusuhin, may mga gay na makanti lang akala mo pinatay na, may mga gay naman na kapit-tuko sa nasabing ordinansa na nagfe-feeling mayabang na, basta gamitin lang ang karapatan kung hanggang saan huwag magmistulang reyna na dahil sa ordinansa na yan, pag tama go, ilaban, pag mali naman ang isang LGBT, umamin agad (I hope this will not be abused. There are gays who overreact to small criticisms and there are also those who may use the ordinance and act like they are queen, as long as we use this privilege in the right manner. If you are correct then go fight for it, but if you are wrong, then you must also admit it),” he said.

Raul Garcia in an interview said that the ordinance has been long overdue.

Karapatan ng bawat tao ang pananaw nila sa buhay if anuman yung klase ng pagkatao nila, as long as di sila nagiging salot sa lipunan, kaya nga 'yung tinatawag namin na freedom of choice, kaya dapat lang maibigay sa amin yun ni Yorme kasi pare-pareho lang tayo mga nilalang dito sa mundo (Every person has the right to his own perception and to whatever he or she wants to be as long as they do not become a problem to the society, that is the freedom of choice. That is why the mayor should really give that to us since we are all the same),” he said.

On Thursday, Mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso signed Ordinance No. 8695 that protects “the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgenders, queers, and intersex (LGBTQI) in the city of Manila against any and all forms of discrimination solely on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, expression (SOGIE) and providing penalty thereof”.

Domagoso said that the ordinance is a fulfillment of one of his promises that every Manileño will be treated equally, regardless of their gender and status in life.

"Here in Manila, there is no distinction between the rich, the poor, and the middle class. No gay, lesbian, male, or female. Every resident of the city of Manila are all equal," Domagoso said in a mix of English and Filipino during the signing ceremony that was attended by the members of the LGBTQI community.

The ordinance prohibits the denial of an employee's access to opportunities for promotion, transfer, training, schooling, or any other benefits that are otherwise granted to other employees on the basis of their sexual orientation.

It is also prohibited to deny students admission and or to expel, dismiss or prevent them from graduating due to their actual or perceived SOGIE.

Moreover, the ordinance also prohibits subjecting persons to physical or verbal harassment, profiling, unjust detention, and involuntary confinement because of one’s actual or perceived SOGIE.

Manila’s anti-discrimination ordinance also mandates establishments operating in the city to create or build gender-neutral toilets before 2023.

The ordinance that took effect immediately penalizes any person who will be found violating it:

-First offense: A fine of not less than PHP1,000 or imprisonment of six months or both at the discretion of the court;

-Second offense: A fine of not less than PHP2,000 or imprisonment of six months and one day to eight months or both at the discretion of the court;

-Third offense: A fine of not less than PHP3,000 or imprisonment of eight months and one day to one year or both at the discretion of the court;

Subsequent violations shall be punished by a penalty of one-year imprisonment and a fine of not less than PHP5,000.

Complaints may be filed before barangay officials who are mandated to establish their respective LGBTQI complaint desks. (PNA)