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SOGIESC bill reaches House plenary discussion after almost a year

By: Gabriel Pabico Lalu - | May 15,2024 - 02:32 PM

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MANILA, Philippines—The proposed Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sex Characteristics (SOGIESC) Equality Act has reached the House of Representatives’ plenary discussions, nearly a year after it was approved at the committee level.

During the session on Tuesday, House Bill (HB) No. 10176 — a consolidation of HB Nos. 222, 460, 3418, 3702, 4277, 5551, 6003, and 7036—was brought to the floor. Bataan 1st District Rep. Geraldine Roman sponsored the proposed measure.

Roman also heads the House Committee on Women and gender equality, which approved the bill.

READ: Pride Month and the campaign for the passage of SOGIESC Equality Bill

“I do this with a sense of relief and gratitude, but also with a sense of satisfaction for the job well done at the committee, where we have thoroughly discussed the said bill,” Roman said in her sponsorship speech.

READ: SOGIESC Equality ordinance passed in Cebu City on Pride Month

“We have dedicated a total of 60 working hours to discuss the bill and listen to both supporters and opposers of the bill, as well as the stakeholders that are to be affected and involved in the implementation of the bill, should it be signed into law.  We have engaged in an intelligent discussion, while maintaining an open mind and spirit of constructive dialogue,” she added.

READ: LGBTQIA+ yesterday and today: A teacher’s thoughts and the SOGIE bill


According to the committee chairperson, supporters of the bill have also diffused concerns about the proposals calmly, noting that opposing lawmakers’ potential delaying tactics have been derailed.

“We have also managed potentially conflictive situations with calm and elegant demeanor, while derailing potentially diversionary and delaying tactics that are unbecoming of the rational legislators that we are,” Roman said.

“But more importantly, we have listened to the people, we have listened to the human beings, our fellow Filipinos, who have been the object of discrimination, based on their SOGIESC for the longest time.  And these people have been deprived of their right to earn a living, to study, to receive services from the government, and to access and use public accommodations and establishments,” she added.


Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas, one of the authors and a firm supporter of the bill, reminded the House that equality is enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and thus must be accorded to Filipinos whatever their SOGIESC may be.

“First of all, the Gabriela Women’s Party greets all members of the LGBTQIA+ community and advocates of the SOGIESC bill who have tirelessly lobbied and pushed for the discussions of this bill in Congress.  This is a big win for us and we cannot reach this point if you did not fight for equal rights and the elimination of discrimination,” Brosas said.

This is not the first time that bills seeking to protect the SOGIESC of Filipinos were filed in Congress.

In the 18th Congress, similar bills were not approved due to stiff opposition from certain groups, who fear that undefined sectors in the LGBTQIA+ community — or the plus signs — might also cover people who have gravely perverted characteristics.

In the Senate, two committees approved Senate Bill No. 1600 last December 2022, which also proposes a SOGIESC Equality Act.

However, several members of Christian groups—including father-son tandem Cibac party-list Rep. Eddie Villanueva and Senate Majority Leader Joel Villanueva—have opposed the measure.

In February 2023, Rep. Villanueva tried to stop a hearing headed by Roman due to “forum shopping”, as the bill was already being heard by a different committee.  Such rules, however, do not apply to the House.

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TAGS: gender equality, House bill, SOGIESC

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