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Duterte says he will certify SOGIE bill as urgent

President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday vowed to certify as urgent the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) anti-discrimination bill.

“Yes,” Duterte said when asked if he would certify the measure as urgent.

“Whatever would make them happy. Parang si Senator [Juan Ponce] Enrile. Gusto ko, happy siya,” he added, referring to the old campaign slogan of the former Senate President.

The SOGIE bill prohibits discrimination of lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgenders (LGBT) in the workplace and educational institutions.

Certifying bill as urgent would allow the Senate and the House of Representatives to approve the measure on second and third reading on the same day in their respective plenaries.

The bill's versions in both houses remain pending at the committee level.

The push for the SOGIE bill was renewed after 28-year-old transgender woman Gretchen Diez was kept from using the ladies room at a Quezon City mall recently.

She was handcuffed and taken to a police station by the mall security personnel.

Diez was handcuffed after she asked the janitress who banned her the reason behind such action.

Video of the incident went viral last month.

Meeting with Diez and several members of the LGBTQ community, Duterte vowed to work with Congress to ensure the passage of SOGIE bill.

One of the proposals during the meeting was the creation of a  commission of LGBTQ advocates pending the enactment of a SOGIE law, according to Senator Bong Go, who attended the meeting organized upon the request of key LGBTQ advocates led by Boobsie Savares.

‘Bakla’ remarks

In a number of times, Duterte has used the "bakla" tag to refer to his critics.

In February, he claimed that some "40 percent" of New People Army (NPA) rebel soldiers are gay.

"Alam ba ninyo that 40 percent ng NPA ngayon na sundalo, bakla?" Duterte said in a speech in Laguna.

The NPA is the armed wing of the Communist Part of the Philippines.

During the campaign period in April, he also called then Senator Antonio Trillanes IV and senatorial candidate Pilo Hilbay "gay."

"Naging solicitor general wala namang gawa. Pinuno yung opisina niya ng mga bakla," Duterte said referring to Hilbay, a former solicitor general.

"Hilbay, isang bak--, ang girlfriend niya, si Agot Isidro. 'Yun namang boyfriend niya, bakla," he added.

Hilbay had set things straight about his gender.

"Ser, lalake po, na naniniwalang hindi kabawasan ang maging member ng LGBT," he had said in a Twitter post.

Duterte also dropped the name Trillanes, one of his staunch critics.

"Si Trillanes bakla o lalaki? Ayaw niyong maniwala? Magtanong kayo ng kaibigan ninyong bakla. Sige, hinahamon ko kayo. Magtanong kayo," he said.

Duterte then appealed to the members of the LGBT in the crowd not to get mad at him.—NB/LDF, GMA News