PH youth party on Orlando shooting: We must unite to end hate

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Kabataan Party-list, the sole youth party in the Philippine House of Representatives, expressed solidarity to the people of the United States on Tuesday in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida that left 49 people dead and dozens more injured.

“The Filipino youth stands in solidarity with the American people, especially members of the LGBT, as they call for justice for the victims of the Orlando shooting. This new spate of heinous killings perpetuated against members of the LGBT and people of color resonate deeply with the Filipino youth, who also clamor to end hate and the perpetration of senseless violence against marginalized sectors,” Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago said Tuesday.

Youth groups led by Kabataan Partylist held a candle-lighting activity in front of the University of Sto. Tomas on Tuesday evening to express solidarity with the people of Orlando, Florida following the mass shooting in the Pulse nightclub in the early hours of June 12.

The gunman identified as Omar Mateen, open-fired at the over 300 patrons of the Pulse nightclub at around 2:00 a.m. Sunday, killing 49 and injuring dozens others.

“As we offer our thoughts and prayers, we also call on the US government to strongly pursue much-needed gun control legislation and other important steps to safeguard the rights and welfare of the LGBT,” Elago said.

The youth solon noted that the mass shooting comes barely a week after the heinous killing of transgender Filipina Ashley Reilley, who was found stuffed in a suitcase left found last June 4 along Cavitex in Bacoor, Cavite.

“The steady rise of hate crimes, both in the Philippines and abroad is a clarion call for the youth and the people to intensify the fight to end hate. The conversation to end hate must in fact begin with the youth,” Elago added.

In the Philippines, the absence of a law that explicitly deals with hate crimes is one of the reasons why the violent deaths or discriminatory acts against certain groups of people, including members of the LGBT community, are simply reported generically as murders or homicides without considering the perceived or actual hate or bias towards them because of their personal characteristics, Elago explained.

“An Anti-Hate Crime Law will address this inadequacy and will serve to protect the rights of vulnerable sectors, especially the LGBT community,” Elago said, adding that the passage of an Anti-Hate Crime Law is one of the priorities of Kabataan Partylist in the 17th Congress.

“In this dark moment, we enjoin the youth to act and become the beacon of hope against these violent crimes. Let us unite and build a future where senseless violence becomes a relic of the past,” Elago ended.###