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Anti-hate crime measure taking back seat to priority bills - Belmonte.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said he is uncertain if the Lower Chamber would have enough time to give due attention to a proposal seeking to address the proliferation of hate-motivated crimes against vulnerable sectors, especially members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

The House Chief expressed doubt that an Anti-Hate Crime Bill would be passed this 16th Congress.

"I don't know if we have time for it. We have many legislative priorities," he said in a text message.

When Congress resumes session on Nov. 17 from the three-week Halloween Break, the 290-man Lower Chamber is expected to tackle House Committee on Justice's report junking the three impeachment complaints against President Aquino, the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), Resolution of Both Houses No. 1 or economic Charter change (Cha-cha) and House Bill 3587 or an Act Prohibiting the Establishment of Political Dynasties.

NARS party-list Rep. Leah Paquiz and Gabriela party-list Rep. Luz Ilagan had expressed their full support to the measure, proposed by Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon, saying that the LGBT does not only need protection, but also the indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and other vulnerable sectors of society.

Last October 29, the seven-member Makabayan bloc filed House Resolution No. 1625 to seek a congressional inquiry on "on reported cases of hate crimes committed partly or wholly on the basis of prejudice over a person's age, race, religion, sexuality, gender preference, ethnicity, nationality, disability, political belief or affiliation with the end view of crafting a landmark legislation against said hate crimes."

In filing HR 1625, the Makabayan solons noted that the death of transgender Filipina Jennifer Laude last October 11 did not only reignite the campaign to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), but likewise spurred public demand for the legislation of an anti-hate crime law.

They said the resolution will pave the way in the crafting of a law that will protect vulnerable sectors from hate crimes or criminal offenses done based on actual or perceived prejudice over an individual's race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, or ethnicity.

Ridon, the lead author of HR 1625, explained that the Anti-Hate Crime Bill would include criminal-penalty-enhancement provisions that would require administrative agencies to collect hate crime statistics as well as provisions on education and welfare protection of vulnerable sectors.

"It is timely and of utmost necessity that the State, through Congress, enact and enforce anti-hate crime laws for the protection of vulnerable sectors and to determine criminal liabilities of offenders," the Makabayan solons explained.


House Speaker and Quezon City Representative Feliciano Belmonte / MB file photo

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Title Annotation:National
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Date:Nov 5, 2014
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