Duterte says he'll certify SOGIE bill as urgent

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte claimed he is ready to certify the SOGIE (sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) equality bill as urgent in order to make LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) persons "happy."

"Yes, whatever would make the mechanisms of – what would make them happy," Duterte said on Tuesday, September 10, when asked if he will certify the measure as urgent.

"Gusto ko, kagaya ni Senator (Juan Ponce) Enrile, gusto ko happy siya (Like Senator Enrile, I want them to be happy)," he added.

Duterte was also asked to weigh in on the debate on what comfort room policy would best respect rights of LGBTQ+ persons.

The President said he thinks there should be separate bathrooms for men, women, bakla (gays), and tomboy (lesbians).

His spokesman, Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo, had previously said Duterte wanted "3rd restrooms" or separate restrooms for the LGBTQ+ community, an idea shot down by many LGBTQ+ rights advocates.

In mid-August, Duterte met with Gretchen Diez, a transgender woman who had been accosted in a mall for using the ladies' restroom.

Diez said Duterte promised a "surprise" for the LGBTQ+ community during their meeting. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.