ANGELES CITY, PHILIPPINES - LESBIAN, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) human rights activists joyfully received the United Nations report that seeks to end legal discrimination and the death penalty for same sex relations as they marched in a colorful parade in this city to celebrate 17 years of gay pride in the country.
The Progressive Organization of Gays in the Philippines (ProGay) demanded that President Aquino adopt the 25-page report titled "Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI)" and implement its recommendations to protect, fulfil and respect SOGI human rights of Filipinos.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay released the report on 15th December to the 47-nation U.N. Human Rights Council after the Council commissioned the report in June.
The United Gay Power Movement or UGPM organized the event themed "Fly with Pride" to honor the city's eponymous references to its angelic wings and urban development slogans. The parade was attended by mainstream civic groups and gay groups who flaunted their creative gowns and floats. Delegations from the capital Manila unfurled a segment of the world's longest rainbow flag, symbol of the gay community's diversity.
UGPM president Jhoie Michelle Ferraris praised Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan for his efforts to make the city compliant with international human rights covenants in regards to LGBT rights.
"Mayor Ed's establishment of an LGBT Human Rights Desk and his advocacy for a City Antidiscrimination Ordinance are just some of the real work our mayor is doing to deliver on the new legal standards of the United Nations," Ferraris added.
Rep. Teddy Casino, author of House Bill 1483 or the Anti Discrimination Act in the House of Representatives, told the crowd that a looming battle in the bicameral conference committee in January needs the active support of LGBTs to push for SOGI as a protected status in a compromise version.
"Pride parades in many cities of the Philippines should really campaign for the passage of your equality law, and Angeles City should start to work with other cities and towns to establish human rights programs in local government units," Casino said.
ProGay human rights officer Oscar Atadero said that the Philippine government should seriously start applying the Yogyakarta Principles, a set of human rights guidelines that protect SOGI, to fasttrack the implementation of the UN report's recommendations. ####
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