Largest city in Philippines to expand LGBT protections

The largest city in the Philippines looks like it will be offering further protections for LGBT people. The Quezon City Council passed a second reading of an ordinance banning discrimination against LGBT and intersex people. The bill will need a third reading and vote in favor of the resolution, and then then go to Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista for signature. Since the first two votes passed, the third vote is likely to be symbolic, but won't take effect until the mayor signs the bill.

Quezon City already employment protections, which was passed in 2003 to gay and lesbian workers from workplace discrimination. The city, however, does not have an encompassing anti-discrimination ordinance. This bill is LGBT inclusive, but not LGBT specific. It specifically names sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, descent, national or ethnic origin, and religious affiliation or beliefs, among others.

According to the Quezon City web site, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte, who presides over the City Council, said, “The LGBT community has been a significant partner in ensuring the success of Quezon City. While contributing on various arenas – politics, arts, business, sciences, education, among others – they have long been ignored, their rights unrecognized, and worse they are often discriminated against. This is the City’s way to protect its citizens by saying no to discrimination."

GLAAD has been speaking with Michael David dela Cruz Tan, the Publisher and Editor of Outrage Magazine, the Philippines only LGBT magazine. He has also been following the story closely. He offered GLAAD his own take on the ordinance:

Because the national government continues not to consider passing an anti-discrimination law a priority, localized efforts - such as the development in the country's largest city, where the Quezon City Council passed a comprehensive anti-discrimination ordinance (ADO) - is therefore laudable. But we also remain cautious until we see it being implemented.  After all, Quezon City passed an ordinance banning employment-related discrimination in 2003, but the implementation of this earlier ordinance has not been noteworthy.

Still, it is heartening to see publicly elected officials support us not solely for political expediency, but because it is the right thing to do. Once it became a city-wide law, having the ADO is a good first step to ensure that LGBT people in Quezon City will now have a recourse if their human rights are violated.

GLAAD will continue to track this story with Outrage Magazine and bring developments.