By Mario Casayuran
Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri has thrown this full support for the early passage of a bill that seeks to prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE).
When the Senate resumes plenary session this week Zubiri pledged ‘’to place the bill on the calendar, the agenda, every day, so that we can tackle this anytime within the next few weeks.’’
Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon also expressed support for the measure whose sponsors are Senators Risa Hontiveros and Loren Legarda.
Hontiveros noted that support for the anti-discrimination bill snowballs in the Senate.
She noted that members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community have found allies in the Senate majority on Wednesday when Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph G. Recto and Senators Zubiri and Loren Legarda took to the stand to express their support for the bill.
The Senate and the House of Representatives are scheduled to go on a two-week recess starting Thursday.
Senate Bill1271 or the Anti-Discrimination Bill was filed on August 1, 2016 and has faced an uphill battle in the Senate, unlike in the House of Representatives that approved its version of the bill in September last year.
“It would be a great legacy of this chamber if we are able to pass the anti-discrimination measure during our watch,” Legarda remarked during the Senate plenary session.
“I just want to give my full unequivocal, urgent support to this measure”, Legarda added, to which Recto replied, “And for the record, I also associate myself with the statements made by Senator Legarda.”
Hontiveros earlier noted that the bill has been under the period of interpellation for 602 calendar days, since her sponsorship in December 2016.
The Senate session resumes on Monday and leaves three session days for the bill to get passed before the chamber’s adjournment on Thursday.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III and Sen. Joel Villanueva are scheduled to interpellate this coming week.
Earlier, Catholic student councils in Metro Manila expressed support for the bill and urged the Senate to end the interpellation and move for its approval .
Celebrities Anne Curtis, Bianca Gonzalez, Iza Calzado, and veteran broadcast journalist Karen Davila also took to social media last month with their support for the bill.