Saturday, February 13, 2016

Bias-motivated violence, discrimination vs LGBTs in Bicol growing, says CHR
By Mike de la Rama

LEGAZPI CITY, Feb. 9 (PNA) -- The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Bicol regional office revealed that hate crime or bias-motivated violence and discrimination against members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in the region has been escalating but only one percent of the cases has reached their office.

According to May Janice Ceneta, special investigator of CHR–Bicol, statistics on violence against LGBTs are still incomplete while reported allegations of discrimination on schools and public places were noted but no formal complaints were filed.

“It could be that these kinds of violence remain under-reported or unreported because the victims do not want to be identified or there is also a lack of protocol on the part of the government to address the situation,” Ceneta said.

The case of Dennis Relato, 48, Albay coordinator of Ang Ladlad partylist who was killed inside his residence in Oas, Albay on Sept. 14, 2015, was classic example.

Relato sustained 35 stab wounds on his head, face, upper extremities back and lower extremities that his ears were nearly torn off.

The respondent is 16 years old who was found to have acted with discernment and was apprehended less than 24 hours after the incident.

In discrimination, a gay college student reported that he was told by their department head that he would be refused entrance at the school gate and would be prohibited from attending his classes if he would not cut his hair.

Another case of a hate crime in Albay was when a gay and graduating high school student was killed in Tabaco City after having been bullied and raped.

Police investigation showed that the gay student failed to pay after having sex with an unidentified suspect.

In a separate incident, a gay professor of one of the universities in Bicol was killed for the same reason as that of the high school student.

On domestic violence, even at home, family members would only tolerate the preference but would not accept the sexual orientation and expression of a gay.

Some are even disowned by their own father or mother as, they claim, "It is shameful to have a child of diverse orientation."

CHR records also showed that on physical violence, the case of “Dem” reached their office.

Dem was strolling along Legazpi Boulevard in Barangay Victory Village, Legazpi City, when he was held by a big-built man then thrown to the seaport.

The incident was only recorded in the blotter office of the barangay and no action was taken by the authorities.

On sexual violence, most of gay teens in Albay first experienced sexual molestation inside their homes by force.

It was committed either by their cousins or uncles, the CHR record said.

One teener reported that he was forced to watch pornographic movies with his cousins, then after that, he was raped.

On harassment, one gay reported that he was walking along Barangay Maroroy, Daraga, Albay when some men approached him, bullied him and threatened to kill him if he would not remove his clothes.

He was forced to get naked along the street and then was thrown to the river near the Legazpi domestic airport.

Ceneta further said that the CHR has the mandate to promote and protect the human rights of intersex persons and persons with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE).

“We encourage victims of unjust discrimination and other violence, especially members of the SOGIE, to seek legal assistance from the commission and file necessary charges against the perpetrators,” the CHR official said. She added that they will conduct strict monitoring to fully implement the law. (PNA) LAP/FGS/MDR/CBD/RSM