Herrera Dy: Use GAD budget to construct all-gender restrooms

Published August 17, 2019, 5:16 PM

by Francine Ciasico

By Ben Rosario 

House Deputy Majority Leader and Bagong Henerasyon (BH) Party-List Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy urged government agencies Saturday to utilize its Gender and Development (GAD) budget to partly finance the construction of “all-gender restrooms” in their offices.

Rep. Bernadette Herrera-Dy (FACEBOOK / M,ANILA BULLETIN)

Herrera-Dy said private business establishments and firms should also be open to allocate space for all-gender toilets even as she aired strong optimism that the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) bill will be passed into law during the 18th Congress.

The GAD budget is equal to five percent of the agency or local government unit’s (LGU) total maintenance and other operating expenses (MOOE) budget appropriation.

Herrera-DY filed one of the 10 SOGIE bills in the Lower House. All versions of the bill contain provisions against denying any person the use of establishments, facilities, utilities, or services open to the general public on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The House official said the recent controversy involving the reported ill-treatment of alleged transgender Gretchen Diez at a mall in Quezon City can be avoided if government offices and business establishments will reserve space for an all-gender restroom.

Meanwhile, Laguna Rep. Sol Aragones, another SOGIE bill author, said the incident underscores the need to pass the SOGIE measure. She also pushed government to “step up efforts to educate the public regarding SOGIE and LGBTQIA+ issues.”

Aragones said such incidents have happened to others members of the LGBTQIA+ community in the past but were not publicized, thus forcing the “victims” to simply endure their lamentable experiences.

“Discrimination and abuse is everywhere and will continue unabated unless we do more to encourage society to accept and understand members of the LGBTQIA+ community,” said the lady solon.

Aragones bared that she recently filed House Bill (HB) 2211 or the SOGIE Equality Act, which seeks to provide safeguards against discrimination and abuse against the LGBTQIA+ community.

The lawmaker had filed a similar measure in the previous 17th Congress.

Section 4 of the bill punishes persons or institutions that physically and emotionally abuse and discriminate against members of the LGBTQIA+ community by denying them access to public and private services and the use of establishments because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression.

“There can be no true equality if the country will continue to tolerate and turn a blind eye to the abuses against the LGBTQIA+ community,” stated Aragones.

Read more: Transwoman against putting up LGBT restrooms