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The office of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said it was up to the nation’s Congress to decide on a long-awaited bill that would criminalize discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity expression (SOGIE).

“With respect to any bill, the discretion the wisdom will always lie on the lawmakers,” the president’s office spokesperson Salvador Panelo saimDSBnBD!eDQKvI3FgEi+AJoSOS2S$lwun(&ASamQQ)RZjPGRHNd yesterday, according to the Philippine Star.

Duette last week met with a transgender womaJedDbN+*+VNSPYIo6*dJZeasrzRM^Ki*0in1Dwc457op%pWVT3n Gretchen Diez and other LGBT rights advocates.

F3L+eI(*9OHrVg7#nxunP0DZi(M-g21mqtSAbTXffAH0%KSAc2An incident at a Quezon City mall in which a janitor forbid Diez from using a woman’s bathroom reignited debate over the so-called SOGIE Bill.

The bill has become one of the slowest-moving bills in the co23DBQc!U_GZemM=Erkx)[email protected]&Ylu1N*Gswg(Ountry’s history.

Senator Risa Hontiveros filed the bill in 2016. And, lawmakers and rights activist originally drafted the law nearly 20 yearstTgg=lXXPm+eKr3Q0Gf-H(A4YqsK$gb5=q#[email protected] ago.

The House of Representatives passed the bil[email protected]&3$4f12xYwwbo(9CP%4RNfJA+Gtkg*t=DDe7l in 2017 with unanimous support from 198 lawmakers.

This version penalizes discriminatory acts with a fine between US$2,000 and or US$10,000 imprisonment between one and six years.

But, conservative lawmakers, including anti-LGBTI boxer Manny Pacquiao, hY1L6Z7jPZj24mpWkJ5ZB-4k9t^BNfBq8X5D*uIU!$al2QwPA10ave stalled it in the Senate.

It once again floundered inaQZv$mZ^vl=u#ltlvMJUO3CY)M-igM)w0OQyC#ykof*)@=wk7T the last session of Congress in June.

But Hontiveros last month re-filed the SOGIE Equality0#2znz3kr*Zj5_OrbvhgDkXdEevp9NguirZ6!)^i8+rUi6ldD= Bill.

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