ASSURANCE. Presidential candidate Senator Panfilo Lacson talks to the crowd during a campaign sortie in Maguindanao on Thursday (May 5, 2022). He assured there will be no discrimination under his administration and human rights will be valued regardless of stature and gender. (Photo courtesy of Sen. Lacson Facebook)

MANILA – A government which espouses inclusivity among all genders will thrive under the presidency of Senator Panfilo Lacson.

Speaking at a town hall forum in Ampatuan, Maguindanao on Thursday, Lacson said all Filipinos, including those part of the LGBTQ+ sector (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) said gender equality will be a standard policy of his administration, reiterating that all men, women, and other non-binary individuals will be accorded the same level of respect as basic human rights.

Pare-pareho tayong mga Pilipino. Actually, hindi lang sa Pilipinas, universal right po ito. Individual right ng bawat tao -- mapa-lalaki, mapa-babae, mapa-LGBT -- lahat may karapatan. Gender equality, ‘ika nga. Pantay-pantay lahat, walang diskriminasyon (We are all Filipinos. Actually, this is not just in the Philippines, this is a universal right. Individual rights of every person -- man, woman or an LGBT member -- we all have rights. Gender equality, so to speak. We are all equal, no discrimination),” Lacson said at the event aired online.

A participant in the forum, who admitted to be an LGBT member, said gay people in the Bangsamoro region are still discriminated upon and by the society at large.

“We are not totally accepted at the Bangsamoro. Some of them tanggap naman kami, pero ang pinaka-concern namin dito is security. Sana ma-stop ‘yung pagba-bash, ‘yung pag-degrade ng pagkatao namin. Kami naman ang gusto lang namin magpasaya at makatulong (Some of them accept us but our main concern is security. We hope the bashing would stop, how they degrade us. We also want to be of help and to bring joy),” the participant said.

Lacson then reiterated his and his running mate’s, Senate President Vicente Sotto III, commitment against discrimination.

Kung ano ‘yung proteksyon na ibinibigay sa bawat isang kababayan natin na Pilipino, dapat ibigay din sa lahat ng tao kabilang na sa tinatawag natin -- kinabibilangan ninyo -- mga LGBT. So, ‘yun po ‘yung aking assurance at kami po napaka-partikular dito (The kind of protection we give to every Filipino must also be extended to all individuals who belong to what we call -- the community you identify with -- the LGBT. So, that is my assurance, and we are very particular on this matter),” he said.

He said they want to uplift the situation, not only in terms of livelihood, but the stature of every Filipino regardless of where they come from, persuasion or inclination. (PNA)