Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista has created the “QC pride council’’ that will oversee the integration of all city programs and projects for the lesbian, gays, bisexual and transgender (LGBT)community.
The “QC pride council’’ which is a pioneering initiative of the mayor highlights the city government’s continuing support for the implementation and enforcement of gender-based policies, programs and activities.
Bautista said that body will be headed by movie and television director Soxie Topacio.
The body will also spearhead cultural, arts, film, sports and educational campaigns that are responsive to the needs and concerns of the LGBT community.
Crisaldo Pablo and Jesse Pauline Solis have been designated as council vice chairmen while members include city health officer Dr. Antonieta Inumerable; Maria Stella Indiongco, representing the office of the mayor; Erwin Joselito Ulanday, president of the QC Hall Gay Employees’ Association; Danton Remoto, representing Ladlad partylist; Dante Tabuñar, of the city’s public affairs and information services office; Rica Paras, of Transgender Association-STRAP; Romrico Luga, of Trippers Philippines; Rev. Cresencio Agbayani, Jr.; entrepreneur Wilbert Tolentino; Socorro Carmelyn de Vera, of the office of the mayor; and Rhomel Espaldon, representing the QC environmental protection and waste management department.
Aside from the creation of the QC pride council, the city also operates a one-stop-shop QC protection center for victims and survivors of gender-based violence and abuse in the city, that includes not only women and children but LGBTs as well.
Meanwhile, Quezon City Second District Councilor Candy Medina a known “champion of women’s cause’’ called on abused women who are victims of abuses to come out in the open to allow concerned authorities to immediately act on their ordeal and impose punishment on the human rights violators.
She issued the plea after her office received news that battered women, some still supporting the scars from their nightmare after years of maltreatment, are afraid or are simply too shy to report the cruelty they have suffered mostly at the hands of their spouses or live-in partners.
“This has got to stop. Enough is enough. Maltreatment and other forms of abuses have got to end. Every minute and every second of the day abuses on women are committed worldwide. Violators should be given the maximum punishment,’’ Medina added.
Medina is the principal author of the ordinance that created the Quezon City Protection Center.
Mayor Herbert Bautista has already signed into law an ordinance creating a one-stop-shop protection center in the city that will provide medical, psychological, police and legal assistance to victims and survivors of gender-based violence and abuse in the city.
The victims include women, children and lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT).
Medina said a center was set up at the Quezon City General Hospital (QCGH) that features a reception area, counseling and psychotherapy room, medical examination room, interview and investigation room, a database room and a rest area to ensure that the needs of the victims are addressed in a gender-responsive and child-friendly manner.
Quezon City is one of the local government units (LGU) that have started offering such service.
Bautista reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to the fight against violence on women and children.
He added that there is a need for a sustained and intensified implementation of all pertinent laws relative to the protection of rights of all the victims of gender-based violence and abuse.
As provided under the ordinance, the newly-created protection center shall serve as a special unit under the office of the vice mayor, which shall also act as the lead agency in its operations, until such time that the budget for the protection center shall be included in the appropriation of the QCGH.
Medina said the creation of the protection center is the city’s response to the issue of violence against and abuse of women and children.
“The signing of the law is a move in the right. But in real life, victims are discouraged by the inconvenience of having to undergo the tedious process in different agencies just to seek justice. Maybe they are just too timid to narrate their ordeals. This should not be the case,” Medina said.
Based on the 2008 data obtained from the National Statistics Office (NSO), twenty percent of women aged 15 – 49 have experienced physical violence since age 15.
Prior to the establishment of the protection center at the QCGH, the city government had already set up a crisis center for battered women, also at the same venue.
However, the city has decided to extend the program to every person who suffered gender-based violence and abuse.