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Elections and the LGBTQ+

This Friday’s special guest for Election Day at our Balitaktakan segment at RNG Luzon at 9:00 o’clock in the morning is Ms. Van Paulo C. Sanchez, the Sangguniang Kabataan Chair of Barangay Brookspoint, Baguio City. Ms. Sanchez is a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community in our city. She is the SK Federation Vice chair for the City of Baguio.

Ms. Sanchez started her career in politics sometime in 2010 as the SK chair of the same barangay. A very young person during that time would not think of entering public service, but she always has a soft spot for helping the people in the community. She is naturally friendly and easy to approach.

Being a member of the LGBTQ+ community gave her a few challenges. One of which, according to her, is the accompanying discrimination. She easily and successfully hurdles this challenge because only a few people, like her, get elected into office. It makes her happy also because she received support from many. Sure, there may have been problems along the way, for two terms and for more than 10 years now, but all these did not stop her. Instead, she has become stronger with the will to continue fighting for equal rights for LGBTQ+ members. She has seen many members of the LGBTQ+ who are intelligent, talented, willing to work with others and who can contribute to the improvement of society.

What is very unusual about her is that she never runs out of ideas. Up to now, she has numerous projects that involve the youth and the LGBTQ+ members. Among her projects include the distribution of health kits, conducting on line lectures on how to cure ourselves in case we catch the virus, special assistance on the registration of the youth for the upcoming Sangguniang Kabataan Elections, conducting LGBT Pride pantry in celebration of the LGBT Pride month, conducting HIV and AIDs screening and lectures. volunteering as staff in the registration during vaccination at SLU, monitoring teams in the barangay and conducting Zumba for physical fitness.

The greatest challenge for Ms. Sanchez, at this time, is fighting the present pandemic. She says that as a leader, more are expected of her- of her efforts, of her leadership. Everyday, she goes out of her way to religiously perform all her functions as a public official and she does not know when she will get sick, but still, since public service is paramount, she will never stop working and to fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ members in her community.

The Commission on Elections has always been fair when it comes to implementation of COMELEC resolutions. All resolutions apply to all kinds of people for as long as they are qualified voters and applicants for registration etc… COMELEC has been holding special registration for women and girls during women’s month and during Mother’s Day. Recently, we conducted a special registration for men and boys as we remember celebrating Father’s Day. We, in this area are hoping to organize soon, a special registration for the LGBTQ+ members.

Our program this Friday, will also include a brief discussion of the so called SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression Equality) Bill or the Anti-Discrimination Bill. As we all know, this bill intends to prevent discrimination against persons based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. Please watch our interesting discussion concerning this topic on Friday, July 2, 2021. See you.

***All comments mentioned in this article are made in my personal capacity as a lawyer and
are not made as an employee of the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

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