SOGIESC Equality ordinance passed in Cebu City on Pride Month
CEBU CITY, Philippines — The Cebu City Council has passed another milestone in the protection of a resident’s right to their chosen Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Expression, and Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC).
The City Council has passed unanimously and in the presence of the different LGBTQ+ organizations in the city, the Ordinance recognizing LGBTQ+ sector and creating the Cebu City SOGIESC pride empowerment program constituting the SOGIESC Pride Empowerment Council (SPEC) and appropriating funds thereof, which is also known as the SOGIESC Equality Ordinance.
Councilor Jessica Resch, president of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation of the city, said that the ordinance would not only recognize the LGBTQ+ sector of the city, but it would also protect them.
“I am very proud to raise this privilege and at the same time humbled to carry the voice of the LGBTQ+ community for their quest for inclusion, equity, and equality in this society…This humble representation filed a proposed legislation to heed their outcry to the community to be included in government in their programs for sectoral development, ” said Resch.
The council approved the ordinance after the third reading during the regular session of the 15th Sangguniang Panglungsod on June 22, 2022. It was their second-to-the-last session before they would adjourn the council on June 29, 2022.
The ordinance acknowledges the rights of people over their SOGIESC including the right to dignity, right to equality, and right to self-determination.
The legislation prohibits discrimination of all sorts against people identified as members of the LBTQ+ community such as humiliation, violence, harrasments, and even jokes and pranks.
The ordinance also prohibits any establishment or government entity to constraint the rights of an individual based on their SOGIESC including economic opportunities; access to health; care and wellness; access to education and learning; access of accommodaton; facilities, utilities, transportation, goods and services; government recognition, registration, accreditation, licensing; and, access to consultative and other political processes.
Violations of the prohibitions would entail a penalty of P5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to 6 months depending on the violation.
The ordinance also forms the SOGIESC Pride Empowerment Council (SPEC), which will serve as the city’s focal group in addressing LGBTQ+ needs handling programs, information and education campaigns, data bank, associations, and assistance.
Each barangay will also have its own SPEC to handle village affairs and coordinate with the city’s SPEC for programs and developments.
The ordinance also appropriates P3 million in the annual budget for the SPEC and other SOGIESC programs.
The SOGIESC Equality Ordinance now awaits the signature of Mayor Michael Rama.
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