‘I am with you’: Hontiveros comforts LGBT community after SOGIE bill hearing

February 9, 2023 - 12:44 PM
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Sen. Risa Hontiveros holding a rainbow-colored heart as a show of support to pass the SOGIE bill, uploaded on February 8, 2022. (hontiverosrisa/Facebook)

“Mahigpit na yakap.”

Sen. Risa Hontiveros expressed this on Twitter following the Senate hearing into the bill that seeks sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE) equality on Wednesday, February 8.

The SOGIE bill, which measure has long been sought for years, was supposed to be sent to the Senate floor for deliberations.

The majority, however, voted to move the bill to the rules committee under the chairmanship of Senate Majority Joel Villanueva.

Following this outcome, Hontiveros extended words of comfort to the LGBTQIA+ community whose equal rights she is advocating for.

She also chairs the Senate Committee on Women, Children, Family Relations and Gender Equality.

“Mahigpit na yakap. Mahirap, pero hindi tayo bibigay. Patuloy lang ang laban. Hindi ako tatahimik. With my whole being, I am with you all the way,” the lawmaker said with the hashtag #SOGIEEquality.

Prior to the plenary session, Hontiveros stated her perception of “inclusion.”

“Our God is a God of love. Of inclusion, of compassion, of lifting up those at the margins,” she said.

The human rights activist further stated that she will continue to fight for measures that will protect the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.

“When we pass measures that protect those that society casts aside, we do God’s work. To my friends in the LGBTQI community, I will continue to fight for you and fight with you. Love is the currency of our struggle. Love will always win,” Hontiveros said.

Messages of support

The clamor for the passage of the SOGIE bill also grew in recent years after several groups and personalities joined the movement for it.

RELATED: ‘Tagumpay natin ‘to’: Clothing store apologizes to transwoman Louis Marasigan after dressing room incident | Buzz on passage of SOGIE bill renewed amid proposed ‘heterosexual rights’ bill 

A voiceover talent named Issa Villaverde on Twitter uploaded a TikTok video where she criticized the lawmakers who opposed the bill that seeks to grant people equal rights.

“Hirap maging bading pag ang aasim ng mga lawmaker natin. But this one’s dedicated to all the beautiful gay creations of God,” Villaverde tweeted.

A coffee shop in Manila called the blocleaf café also voiced out its position against discrimination through Instagram.

“PASS SOGIESC EQUALITY BILL NOW! blocleaf café is one with the community in calling for the immediate approval of the SOGIESC Equality Bill in the Senate now!” the post reads.

Details about the bill or Senate Bill 689 can be accessed here: 3106627964!.pdf (senate.gov.ph).

Hontiveros’ manifestation, lawmakers’ response

In her manifestation, Hontiveros said that she was supposed to sponsor Committee Report No. 15 or the SOGIE Act last December.

Villanueva, however, informed her that he obtained signatures for it to be remanded because a number of pastors and bishops will still speak about it.

Hontiveros noted that this happened “a couple of weeks ago.”

“Pebrero na po ngayon at tinatanong na po sa akin ng mga miyembro ng LGBTQI+ community kung ano na nga ba ang nangyari sa bill. Bakit daw hindi ko pa ito inisponsor. They want to know what is happening,” the senator said.

“I owe them an answer. And I owe them an answer,” she added.

Hontiveros also told her colleagues that several large religious groups and organizations have participated in the committee hearing and with the technical working group (TWG) about the proposed act.

Some of the groups mentioned are the following:

  • National Council of Churches in the Philippines
  • Iglesia Filipina Independiente
  • Mindanao Evangelical Leaders Council
  • Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines
  • Jesus is Lord

Moreover, she also discussed this topic with the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches last December.

Hontiveros’ full manifestation can be viewed here.

Villanueva, however, said that some evangelical groups were still not given enough time to air their views on their measure.

The senator also brought out a pile of papers in front of the senators. He said that these were letters from these groups.

Eighteen senators later decided on voting on the referral of the much-sought-after SOGIE bill to Villanueva’s committee for “further study.”

READ: Villanuevas in Congress move to delay SOGIE Equality Bill | Philstar.com