Alarmed over the reported killing of another transgender woman in Quezon province just days after the death of Jennifer Laude allegedly in the hands of a US military serviceman, a party-list group representing the youth announced Friday that it will be filing a resolution next week to prompt the Lower House to conduct hearings in aid of legislating a landmark law against hate crimes.
“We are deeply saddened and enraged by the news that another transgender woman has been killed in an apparent hate-motivated crime in Tayabas, Quezon. The proliferation of hate-motivated crimes against vulnerable sectors especially members of the LGBT community should prompt Congress to pass a law that will accord special protection for them,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said.
The lawmaker disclosed that Kabataan Partylist has just concluded initial consultations on hate crime legislation with several cause-oriented groups including LGBT organization Kapederasyon.
“Based on the results of the consultations, our next move will be to file a resolution in aid of legislation next week to begin the drafting of the Anti-Hate Crime Bill. We want to be very careful in crafting each and every provision in the proposed law, and we want every concerned sector to be involved in the legislative process – that is why we plan to file a resolution first, rather than go ahead and file the bill immediately,” Ridon explained.
The legislator noted how the government has neglected hate crimes in past years. “The lack of basic figures and statistics is telling. Even data on hate crimes is not updated. The best data we have is from the Philippine Hate Crime Watch that has recorded 157 cases of hate crimes against members of the LGBT from 1996 to 2011,” he noted.
Protect vulnerable sectors
Ridon said that the proposed Anti-Hate Crime legislation will cover crimes committed against a person on the basis of his/her sexual orientation, gender identity, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, and political beliefs, among others.
“In crafting an Anti-Hate Crime Law, we need to ensure that all vulnerable sectors are protected, and that their specific needs are taken into consideration,” Ridon said, explaining that the LGBT, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable sectors should all be covered by the Anti-Hate Crime Bill.
While details of the proposed bill will be further fleshed out in the upcoming the congressional hearing, Ridon said that the Anti-Hate Crime Law will surely contain provisions that “will make crimes committed on the basis of protected characteristics an aggravating circumstance in criminal cases.”
“At the minimum, we would like to amend the Revised Penal Code to provide for one-degree higher penalties for hate crimes,” Ridon said.
The legislator added that provisions on education, welfare and protection of vulnerable sectors especially the LGBT community will be included.
“Based on the initial consultations, there is also a need for specific provisions on the role of all branches of government, including LGUs, in the promotion of rights and protection of vulnerable sectors especially the LGBT community,” Ridon said.
“The bill we are envisioning is a comprehensive and holistic bill that should serve not only to protect individuals from hate crimes but also ensure that the government will be made responsible in looking after their welfare,” the legislator stressed.