Remulla says PH ‘not ready’ for same-sex marriage, SOGIE

Mike Navallo, ABS-CBN News

Nov 22 2022 – ABS CBN News

Remulla leaves debate on abortion, divorce to legislature

MANILA — The Justice department on Monday defended its decision to immediately reject some recommendations from United Nations member-states during the universal periodic review of the Philippine human rights situation in Geneva last week.

“There are several items however that outrightly, because of our national identity, our religious beliefs, and our cultural traditions and the Philippine sovereignty that we need to uphold and protect at all times, there were several things that we did not accept or we rejected outright,” Justice undersecretary Raul Vasquez said in a press conference Monday.

The Philippines had accepted 200 out of around 279 recommendations, deferring decision on most of the remaining recommendations while outrightly rejecting some of them.

Among the rejected recommendations is to allow same-sex marriage and to pass a sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression (SOGIE) bill that is intended to prevent discrimination.

I think that we know as a country that we are not ready for that. Culturally, our values may conflict with many of the values that they want to impose upon us,” Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin “Boying” Remulla said.

“This legislation is there every Congress. Meron nagfa-file niyan and it is a matter of policy whether we will accept it or not,” he explained. 

He made a similar remark on abortion on Friday, describing it as “culturally-reprehensible.”

“I don’t think that we’re ready for the idea of over-the-counter abortion. I don’t think we want that,” he had said.

And while the issue of divorce is “debatable” for Remulla, with the Philippines being the only country apart from Vatican where divorce is not yet recognized, he said that is something that should be left to the discretion of the legislature.

“We just don’t recognize it because the premises have not been laid out properly. We want the legislature to do their job here. That is why we we cannot commit to it is because we cannot impose upon the legislature on policy that they have to do within Congress,” he said.

“Gusto nila i-impose namin sa Congress yung gagawin, i-impose namin sa Judiciary yung desisyon. We cannot do that,” he added.

Vasquez said they explained to the UN Human Rights Council that there is a difference in the concept of “human rights” in the Philippines.

We informed the UN body that the reason for that is because human rights in the Philippines is a community-based belief. Unlike in the Western countries where human race is essentially an individual matter,” he said.

In contrast to the outright rejections, among the recommendations the Philippine government accepted are those involving the promotion of the rights of children, protection of women’s rights, the promotion of the rights of indigenous peoples, a greater protection of the civic space.

Remulla added access to media and access to information.

“If you look at the whole picture 200, 200 suggestions, as 200 recommendations were accepted is something very new to our country. Dati we would defer them, minsan ayaw talaga natin tanggapin pero dito kasi you have to do it in full humility, of your limitations, the problems that are really there,” he said.

“So might as well accept what has to be accepted since we believe we are doing something about the problems of the are putting recommendations for,” he said.

In the previous cycle of the universal periodic review in 2017, the Philippines accepted only 103 out of the 257 recommendations received. 

Some 154 recommendations were noted while 55 recommendations were not supported.

The UPR is a peer-review mechanism where UN member-states can critique and provide recommendations on the human rights situation in fellow member-states.


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