The National Youth Commission (NYC) upholds inclusivity for all the Filipino youth and vows to relentlessly advocate for social inclusion and equity among the youth.

Social inclusion and equity is identified as one of the nine (9) centers of youth participation outlined in the 2017-2022 Philippine Youth Development Plan (PYDP).

The National Youth Commission’s agenda on Social Inclusion and Equity is for the Filipino youth to participate in a peaceful and just society that affords them with equal and equitable opportunity, social security and protection in all aspects of development, regardless of their gender, disability, specific needs, political beliefs, ethnicity, religion, and socio-cultural-economic status. This is so stated in the Philippine Youth Development Plan 2017-2022.

Social inclusion means ensuring that policies that consider the rights and aspirations of the vulnerable sectors of the youth including but not limited to LGBTIQ+, the indigenous peoples, youth in situations of armed conflict and in conflict with the law, drug dependent youth, youth who are differently-abled, youth with specific needs such as the abused, neglected and exploited youth.

Art. II, Section 11 of the Philippine Constitution provides that “The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.” Art. III, Section 1 further provides that “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.”

NYC notes that despite attempts for legislation at the national level since the 1990s, a comprehensive anti-discrimination law is still lacking. Various versions of legislative proposals have been filed in Congress for almost two (2) decades but have not been successfully passed into law. On September 20, 2017, voting 198-0 , House Bill Number 4982 or “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression (SOGIE) and Providing Penalties therefore” passed in the House of Representatives. The counterpart bill in the House of Senate is still pending second reading.

According to TLF Sexuality, Health, and Rights Educators Collective’s (TLF Share) online survey, “Speak Out: An Online Survey on Stigma, Discrimination & Abuse based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expressions,” 3 out of 10 respondents (28% of the total respondents) said they experienced unfair treatment while looking for a job or while at work, of which 13.2% said they were refused employment, 9.7% were subjected to sexual harassment, and 7.2% were denied promotion or other incentives in the last five (5) years of their employment. Sadly, 86% of those who experienced unfair treatment did not report the incident to relevant authorities. These data show that there is a need for the enactment of a law on anti-discrimination based on SOGIE. There are likewise no planned program activities nor existing programs for the LGBT youth from the national government agencies based on the PYDP 2017-2022.

“Based on the data that we have gathered, it is clear that NYC needs to strengthen the inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ youth sub-sector as one of our priority agenda. We need to strengthen the gender-responsiveness of youth programs by capacitating stakeholders through training and information dissemination. Also, we should elevate the discourse on SOGIE discrimination by organizing discussions among LGBTIQ+ and the community on how to address and provide support to victims of discrimination. We are hopeful that the House of Senate will be our champion in upholding human rights and pass the SOGIE Equality bill,” states ASec. Rhea Peñaflor, Chairperson of Committee on Social Inclusion and Equity.

NYC OIC-Chairperson Ronald Cardema explained, “The NYC is not turning its back to this sector because they are an integral part of our society. We just need to prioritize and upscale support in terms of policies and corresponding programs, projects and activities to all marginalized sectors and not just one.”

“The Committee on Social Inclusion and Equity recommends to constitute Social Inclusion and Equity – External TWG to the Commission Proper since there is an absence of a comprehensive national legal framework recognizing the rights of LGBTIQ+ persons, prohibiting SOGIESC-based discrimination, and ensuring provision of adequate services for LGBTIQ+ persons in difficult situations. Our proposed members are DSWD, NCDA, DOH, DepEd, DENR-FMB, NCCA, NCIP, PCW, DILG, DOLE, CSC, CHED, TESDA, CHR, NCMH, Technical Resource Groups from Non-Government Organizations, Youth organizations and Youth-serving organizations. The priorities of the vulnerable sectors of the youth will be discussed in this TWG,” adds ASec. Peñaflor.