By Mark Kevin Reginio
Rainbow-colored flags enlivened the streets as members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community joined the massive protest during Monday’s second state of the nation address (SONA) by President Rodrigo Duterte.
“Naniniwala kami na andaming ipinangako ni Duterte – na po-protektahan at irerespeto ang karapatan ng LGBT, ang karapatan ng kababaihan at isusulong ang anti-discrimination bill at ordinances. Hindi niya natupad kaya naririto kami para singilin siya,” BAHAGHARI-Metro Manila spokesperson Bernadette Neri said.
More than demanding the president of their representation, the LGBT community also called on Duterte to recognize their basic rights.
A working class LGBT, Alena Lauriua, 19, joined the protest to call on the abolishment of contractualization policies on workers.
“Kaya sumama ako rito dahil ramdam ko ang hirap ng mga mamamayang Pilipino. Maraming pangako ang rehimeng Duterte, sa mga mangggawa na ititigil ang kontraktuwalisasyonat endo (end-of-contract) kung saan ito’y hindi pa naipapatupad sa mga kompanya,” Lauriua said.
Labor secretary Silvestre Bello III last year said the Duterte administration will not allow contractualization among workers. Latest data by the Philippine Statistics Authority however reveals there are about 4.5 million non-regular workers in the country a year into the Duterte presidency.
Lauriua is working at a handicraft company where she receives sub-minimum wages.
Yan Puno, 15, a youth LGBT, attended the rally to call for free education.
“[Nanawagan po ako para sa] libre at pang-masang edukasyon,” Puno said.
He is also part of Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap who recently occupied around 5,000 idled houses in Pandi, Bulacan. But while they were successful in achieving free housing, youth members of KADAMAY still demands free education as a matter of right and state obligation.
Duterte promised the youth of free education for all starting this school year but later retracted saying he first wants to prioritize ‘financially disadvantaged but academically able students.”
Neri hopes the president would fulfill promises he made last year in first SONA, including the continuation of the peace talks with the National Democratic Front as well as ending martial law in Mindanao.
“Kinakailangan na itong mga kagyat na usapin ay makatugon siya ng positibo para sa mamamayan. Kung tumitindig siya para sa mamamayan ay tumitindig din siya para sa mga LGBT,” she said.#