BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance creating the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) office in the local government and for other purposes.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Edgar M. Avila stated that the local government recognizes the importance of the LGBT in city development and shall promote their total development as individuals and as members of the community. The city shall endeavor to extend every assistance to them and avoid discrimination in delivery of goods and services, discrimination in accommodation, verbal or non-verbal ridicule and verification, harassment, unjust detention and involuntary confinement and disallowance from entry and refusal to serve.
The ordinance added to pursue and implement the policy contained in the measure, an office known as the City LGBT or CLGBTO will be created and established.
Under the proposed ordinance, the CLGBTO shall be composed of a head assisted by a staff, majority of whom shall be LGBT persons, and provided further, that they shall possess all the qualifications and none of the disqualifications for a government position.
The officials and staff of the CLGBTO shall be appointed by the City Mayor for a fixed term of 5 years without reappointment from among a list of 3 nominees submitted by accredited and recognized LGBT organizations.
The ordinance stipulated that the CLGBTO shall have the same status as that of a bureau under the Office of the City Mayor and the said office shall implement the city’s programs, projects and activities related to the LGBT persons.
The CLGBTO shall provide a one-stop shop leadership and organizational structure providing direct and specific services and implementation of government policies, plans and programs for the LGBT development; harness and develop the full potential of the LGBT so that they may actively participate in national development efforts and foster cooperation and support among the LGBT self-help organizations, government agencies, related private institutions and other peoples organizations in all programs and projects relating to the LGBT.
The ordinance added no person shall be appointed to any position at the CLGBTO unless he or she is a natural born Filipino citizen, at least 18 years of age at the time of appointment, and a college degree holder in a related field such as but not limited to psychology, medicine or any other allied courses, must have considerable executive and management experience and must have been involved in organizations, institutions, programs and projects relating to LGBT persons, must have occupied a position of responsibility and leadership in any duly accredited and recognized LGBT organization or other similarly oriented group or institution, is of good moral character and must not have been previously charged or convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude.
The ordinance stated that the amount needed for the operation and maintenance of the CLGBTO shall be included in the annual budget of the local government, provided that the operating expense of the office itself shall not be more than 30 percent of the annual appropriation and that at least 70 percent of such annual appropriation shall be devoted to LGBT development, programs and projects.
By Dexter A. See