LGBTQ seeks relief through Social Amelioration

The process of determining recipients of emergency relief in the different barangays has subjected many LGBTQ workers to discrimination, an advocate said.

Van Sanchez, Vice President of the Sangguniang Kabataan Federation and an LGBTQ member herself, faced the city officials and City Social Welfare and Development Officer Betty Fangasan on April 20 to speak on behalf of the disenfranchised members of the LGBTQ community in the city with regard to the selection of beneficiaries of the emergency subsidy under the Social Amelioration Program (SAP).

The SK Vice President begged to be clarified about the SAP guidelines with regard to matters concerning the LGBTQ community. She said there are a number of displaced LGBTQ workers who are not considered qualified based on the assessment done by SAP validators.

Sanchez raised concern on the disqualification of some LGBTQ individuals from the SAP based on the rule that the said cash assistance is granted to an eligible family as prescribed by the present guidelines.

“Mahirap talaga sa amin ang magkapamilya, pero may sinusuportahan kami. Marami sa amin ang breadwinners,” Sanchez explained. Fangasan emphasized that an LGBTQ individual is qualified for the social amelioration if they are living with their parents and siblings and if they are considered the head of the family.

However, food packs will be given instead of cash assistance if the individual is living alone, Fangasan added. Moreover, Sanchez sought clarification as to what constitutes a family in order to be qualified for the SAP. She relayed a scenario where an LGBTQ couple with an adopted child was screened out.

Fangasan said a gay couple with a legally adopted child is considered a family, thus can be given cash assistance provided they meet the qualifications under the SAP guidelines.

If they can produce an adoption paper, they [can qualify]. Pero kapag wala, food packs ang ibibigay,” Fangasan said. Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and ABC president Michael Lawana suggested that barangay officials may issue a certification attesting to the unique circumstances of an LGBTQ individual who is in need of the social amelioration.

However, Mayor Benjamin Magalong feared this might create complications. The mayor said the guidelines spelled out by the national government must be complied with. “I wish we could, but we just have to be very careful,” the mayor said. “I-comply muna natin lahat ‘yung mga qualified. And I am pretty sure na may sobra diyan. That’s the time we can cover them.”

Sanchez also cried foul at the seeming lack of fairness in the selection of Tulong Panghanapbuhay sa Ating Disadvantaged/Displaced Workers (TUPAD) grantees claiming a survey showed the selection favors “male” displaced workers.

Lastly, Sanchez requested that the food packs given to the LGBTQ individuals should be sustainable to help them survive the lockdown.

In a Facebook post, Sanchez thanked the City Social Welfare and Development Office and the city officials for hearing out the concerns of said minority in the city.

“Finally, na-raise na po natin ang ating mga concerns sa Social Amelioration Program and relief goods. Nagkaroon po tayo ng pakakataon na i-raise ito sa city council kahapon, kasama ang ating City Social Welfare and Development officer, Maam Betty F Fangasan at ang ating Mayor, Benjamin B. Magalong.

Sa pagkakatong ito nag papasalamat kami kay City Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan sa pag recognized sa aming concerns. Maraming salamat po,” Sanchez wrote. Sanchez also addressed the barangay officials in her post.

“…Sa ating mga mabubuti at masisipag na barangay Officials, tanggapin po natin at i-welcome po natin ang ating mga LGBT sa pag fill-up sa Form 200 at i-assist po natin sila. Isama po natin sila sa inyong assessment. Naniniwala po ako sa inyong kabutihan na hindi nyo po sila pababayaan…” Sanchez continued.

Jordan G. Habbiling/ABN


Amianan Balita Ngayon