Manila signs ordinance prohibiting gender discrimination
This photo taken on June 26, 2020 shows members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community protesting against the anti-terror bill in Mendiola Street, Manila.
Release/League of Filipino Students
Manila signs ordinance prohibiting gender discrimination
Franco Luna ( - October 29, 2020 - 4:58pm

MANILA, Philippines — Manila City officially joined the list of local governments with ordinances against gender-based discrimination Thursday after Manila City Mayor Francisco Domagoso signed Ordinance No. 8695 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a person’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression or SOGIE. 

The city's anti-discrimination ordinance also mandates establishments operating in Manila to create their gender-neutral toilets come 2023 and creates a Gender Sensitivity and Development Council in the nation’s capital city to oversee the implementation of the ordinance. The ordinance takes effect immediately. 

"In our small step, we can at least make you feel that discrimination in Manila will not work. Discrimination cannot work because of social status - the poor, the middle class, the rich, the gay, lesbian, women and men," Domagoso said.

"Every young man in Manila should feel the same right and proper respect for his fellow man and the people who grow up in the city of Manila in their respective fields of undertaking," he added.

Penalties for any violations include: 

  • For the first offense: A fine of not less than P1,000 or imprisonment of six months or both at the discretion of the court;
  • For the second offense: A fine of not less than P2,000 or imprisonment of six months  and one day to eight months or both at the discretion of the court;
  • For the second offense: A fine of not less than P3,000 or imprisonment of eight months and one day to one year or both at the discretion of the court;

"Subsequent violations shall be punished by a penalty of one year imprisonment and fine of not less than P5,000. Complaints may be filed before barangays as they are mandated to establish their respective LGBTQI Complaint Desks," the city public information office said in a statement.

Manila, the nation's capital city, is the 26th city and 39th local government in the Philippines to sign an anti-discrimination policy. 

The Philippine Anti-Discrimination Alliance of Youth Leaders in its Twitter account said that its call for similar legislation on a national level remains.

The SOGIE Bill is still pending in Congress after its initial filing two decades ago.

What about the Pride 20?

To recall, 20 protesters from groups Bahaghari, Gabriela and the Children’s Rehabilitation Center were arrested by elements of the Manila Police District in late June for taking part in a community-organized protest against the controversial and hotly-contested anti-terror bill.

Cops said their arrests were due to quarantine violations and had nothing to do with the bill being protested, which the Philippine National Police continues to staunchly defend on its social media pages

In videos of the incident that have since gone viral on social media, police are seen refusing to answer the media when asked which quarantine guidelines were violated by the protestors being arrested.

READ: 20 arrested at Pride march against anti-terror bill in Manila

"They were not informed of any charges when they were accosted. What a way to commemorate pride in [the Philippines, national police!]" Cristina Palabay, secretary-general of rights monitor Karapatan said in a statement. International rights monitor Human Rights Watch said the arrests during the Pride rally only showed why the 20 were right to oppose the controversial bill, “which would make it much easier for police to arrest critics of the government.”

Despite calls for him to take action, the Manila City chief executive stayed mum as the Pride 20 spent days in police custody. 

"Dito sa Maynila, walang mahirap, walang middle class walang mayaman. Walang bakla, walang tomboy, walang lalake, walang babae. Lahat ay mamamayan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, sa Maynila pantay pantay," Domagoso said.

(Here in Manila, there is no poor or middle class or rich. There is no gay, tomboy, male or female. All of us are citizens of the City of Manila, and in Manila we are all equal.) 

with a report from Bella Perez-Rubio

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