MANILA—Senator and vice presidential candidate Francis “Chiz” Escudero urged the government on Thursday to take proactive steps in safeguarding the rights and welfare of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community by passing the anti-discrimination bill.
“I ultimately believe that each and every Filipino should have equal rights, access to basic social services, and should be protected from all kinds of discrimination,” said Escudero, the frontrunner among vice presidential bets in the May 9 elections based on voters’ surveys.
Escudero made the appeal after senatorial candidate and boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao drew mixed reactions for his harsh comment against same-sex marriage, calling it “worse than animals.”
In 2014, Escudero co-authored Senate Bill No. 2358, also known as the Anti-Discrimination bill, along with his presidential running mate and Senator Grace Poe, which makes any form of discrimination a “crime against humanity and human dignity.”
The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sex or gender or sexual orientation, language, disability, educational attainment and other forms of discrimination.
“I believe that whoever you are, whatever is your origin, you should be accorded with equal treatment and rights as people,” Escudero said.
Citing a basic principle in social justice that those who have less in life should have more in law, the veteran legislator said the LGBT community, a sector of society that is often neglected, is also repeatedly stigmatized by different discriminatory remarks.