So today, a news article came out about President Duterte saying same-sex marriage will not be legalized in the Philippines while he was in Myanmar for a state visit.
This after saying in 2016 election campaigns that he would be open to legalizing same-sex marriage in the Philippines if he becomes President.
I voted for this man because I thought at that time he would be a game changer for the country. I thought he was someone who is open to new ideas and proposals like same sex marriage and divorce. Back then, there were actually two candidates who were vocal about their support for the LGBT community: him and Senator Grace Poe. It was the latter who filed a candidacy first and she was the first one to outline her platform of governance including support for the protection of LGBT rights and legalization of same-sex marriage. I was impressed that someone like her, a neophyte politician, could be supportive of the minorities.
But leading to the election day, I changed my mind and opted for the more tough-talking candidate in Mayor Duterte. His record in Davao City of getting things done by hook or by crook and his fight against corruption struck a chord in me because the Filipino people have long suffered from indecisive, incompetent and corrupt politicians. I thought he was someone the country needs to move forward and graduate from lousy and greedy public servants who talk about change for the country in their election campaigns but eventually failing to deliver on their promises once seated in the government. His proposal for the country to change from centralized to federal form of government is what I liked also because as an archipelago, Filipinos are regionalistic in nature. I liked the idea of decentralizing the powers and funds of the government so that Manila will be decongested. Wealth will be made by the regions themselves and the regional government where and how the funds will be spent. Federalism worked for other countries and I don’t see why it can’t work here in the Philippines.
However, a few months after the elections, I have grown discontented with how Duterte is running the government. Extra-judicial killings have skyrocketed borne out of his government’s fight against drugs. There have been victims of mistaken identity who are not really involved in drugs but were gunned down as if their lives are worthless. He promised to eliminate criminality and drugs in three months after taking office but he has yet to achieve it going into his first year as President. One of his promises was to end contractualization within a few weeks of his assumption to the highest position in the land but again, this has yet to be realized. Add to that the many lies he made which were caught on national TV and his foreign policy alliance shift from US to China.
With this latest pronouncement from him that same-sex marriage will not be legalized under his term, I am disappointed and angry because I was fooled into believing everything he promised and said during the elections. I can’t believe I fell for his tactics. I am sure I am not the only LGBT member here in the country to be outraged by this news. Sometimes I find myself wishing he’d get impeached so we can have a new president right away. This is a lesson for me as a faithful and regular voter in elections. I will not fall for sweet words and promises of politicians anymore.
Personally, I don’t want to force a “marriage” law for LGBT people here in the Philippines. I understand that I live in a Catholic country and religious people will attack the proposal and pressure politicians into rejecting it. It will take a long while before the separation of church and state will be observed. Having said that, I am pro-domestic partnership or same-sex unions for now. It’s not marriage but somehow it will afford same-sex couples the same rights and protections that are enjoyed by hetero couples. It’s not too much to ask. If handicapped people and other minorities are given their rights and privileges, why can’t they give LGBT people the same? They’re not actually special or additional rights for LGBT. They’re human rights and I hope politicians come to their senses soon and realize this.
Sometimes I catch myself thinking of moving to a different country where I am afforded LGBT rights and protections for myself and my partner and the same time have a government that cares for its people’s welfare and function how a government should. Maybe it’s time to consider that and study my options. For now, I’ll just keep on hating Duterte till he steps down of that office or gets thrown out via impeachment or till the next election.