THIS is a response from a 17-year-old student and member of the LGBTQ+ community to the column of Mrs. Violeta Lopez Gonzaga dated November 29, 2019 entitled “Gonzaga: SOGIE goes from Supreme Court to local councils.”
I would like to draw attention to a misleading information presented by Mrs. Gonzaga, she noted that the “template ordinance” being pushed in the local councils is entitled “An Act Against Discrimination on the basis of SOGIE.” Though she might be referring to other cities and municipalities, but in the first paragraph of her article she mentioned Councilor Gamboa and Bacolod City, thus I know that this concerns our city. For the information of all of us, Bacolod City has already passed an Anti-Discrimination Ordinance in April 2013, and it is not only exclusive to the protection of human beings based on their Sogie.
As the column has also stated that former Bacolod City Councilor Atty. Lyndon Cana argued that there is an “exclusion or non-mention of the other sector immediately affected by the bill.”
In reality, there is no such “template ordinance” being pushed in the local council of Bacolod because we already passed one since 2013. Secondly and most importantly, as opposed to the claims of Mrs. Gonzaga and Atty. Cana, the ordinance we have here in Bacolod is not only exclusive to “SOGIE.”
As I may quote, the City Ordinance No.640 recognizes and protects a wide array of individuals of different demographics. As the title of the ordinance suggests “An Ordinance Prohibiting Discrimination in Bacolod City on the Basis of Disability, Age, Health Status, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, Ethnicity and Religion and Providing Penalties for Violations Thereof”
I hope that this brings us light in this polarizing issue. Because in reality, I know that all of us are for equality and we all aspire for a society where no one is discriminated. We just need to hear each other out.
May we not divide, rather unite ourselves for an egalitarian community. May we seek to protect the vulnerable members of our community and show them that we are persons of compassion who understand their oppression. (By Joshua, 17)